NEW PORT RICHEY — During a traffic stop a couple of years ago, a Pasco sheriff's deputy found oxycodone pills in a vehicle.
Detectives looked into who had the pills and where they'd gotten them, and the inquiry grew into a two-year undercover investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration that unraveled two major drug rings.
Both crime rings were fraudulently obtaining thousands of oxycodone pills, then funneling them up to Tennessee and Kentucky, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said Friday.
Authorities estimate that the organizations trafficked more than 400,000 oxycodone pills with a $4 million Florida street value and a $12 million out-of-state street value.
The investigation, which branched into other jurisdictions, led to the recent arrests of North Tampa Pharmacy owner Retsidistswe Griffith; pharmacists Brian C. Weiler and Treshena L. Dixon; and more than 90 other people on oxycodone-related charges. More than two dozen of them face federal charges.
The two rings obtaining the drugs were identified by the Sheriff's Office as the Humphrey family of Hudson and the Garcia/Barber clan — a group that included the person involved in that initial traffic stop.
"We have no idea where their money is," Nocco said of the people accused of trafficking vast amounts of prescription pills. "They aren't living in large homes. They didn't have fancy cars. They are all just addicts themselves that are just fueling their addiction."
Though they did not provide many details about the families, authorities said the Humphrey family was led by Kathy Alvarez-Humphrey, 51. Authorities said she has been involved in criminal activity for decades, but most recently has been involved with drug trafficking.
She was among the 18 people from Pasco County who were indicted on trafficking charges announced last week by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Sheriff's Office said 13 members of the Garcia/Barber organization also face federal charges.
They have been charged with conspiracy to distribute prescription controlled substances and illegally distributing or causing the distribution prescription controlled substances.