A 49-year-old woman and two men in their 20s - all of whom are part of a prescription drug ring in Pinellas and Pasco counties, authorities say - have been arrested on felony drug charges.
Irene Cadwell of New Port Richey and Nathaniel S. Greene, 23, and Charlie R. Thompson, 28, both of Port Richey, were arrested by Pinellas County sheriff's detectives at a Palm Harbor pharmacy.
Detectives believe that the three are part of a prescription drug ring that could include as many as 30 people.
"As a result of interviews with these subjects, detectives determined that there were others involved in this," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.
Authorities aren't identifying the pharmacy, she said, because there is reason to believe that members of the ring will try to use that location again.
At 3:44 p.m. Thursday, employees at the pharmacy notified the Sheriff's Office when they noticed that they had filled six similar prescriptions for three different people. Detectives concluded that the prescriptions were fraudulent, confiscated them and left.
About 30 minutes later, Cadwell entered the pharmacy and dropped off a prescription similar to the others, authorities said.
Again, the pharmacy staff notified authorities. Detectives arrived and followed Cadwell out of the pharmacy and to a car with two men sitting inside. The detectives interviewed the three and discovered that the two men had submitted two of the previous sets of prescriptions, the Sheriff's Office said.
All three were charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (oxycodone), trafficking in oxycodone and conspiracy to traffic oxycodone, plus a few other drug-related charges.
Friday afternoon, all three were being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bail for Cadwell, $110,000 bail for Greeneand $115,000 bail for Thompson.
The Sheriff's Office is asking that anyone with information about the drug ring call the Narcotics Unit at (727) 582-6200 or toll-free at 1-800-873-8477 (TIPS).
Martine Powers can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4224.