The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
Stewart Tendler and Davaid May
The Brotherhood of Eternal Self-Interest
'We wanna make a deal. Yeah. We wanna make a deal.'
The words in different languages have been heard so often in thousands of police stations across the world that they deserve to be framed on the walls alongside the fly-blown station rules and the much-thumbed files of administrative notices.
The Laguna Beach detectives were non-committal: the essence of good interrogation is to get the suspect talking. One of them asked the two drug dealers exactly what they had in mind. What deal? What did they have?
The dealers laid it on the line. The bust was practically nothing. Just a bit of dope. No big deal. What would they get probation? A year or so inside? Nothing. Nada. Why not just let them go?
Let them go! The detective shrugged dismissively.
Not for nothing, said the dealers. They were just small fish. If the cops let them go, in return they would give something good. Really good.
A really big dealer. He can get kilos just like that.
So who is this number one guy?
Is it a deal?
It could be. It could just be.
Patrick Brennan knew nothing of this. Nothing at all. He was at work when the dealers rang with an urgent demand. They needed marijuana right away, now. Could he deal? Brennan reckoned he could. As a member of the Brotherhood, it was never difficult to lay hands on marijuana. There were no problems. Why should there be? The dealers were also members of the Brotherhood. It was a standard rule that if anyone was busted, they had to be cold-shouldered just in case the cops were up to something. But Brennan knew nothing about these two being arrested and assumed everything must be square. He put together the marijuana deal in a few hours.
The detectives took him with 7.5 kilos. Brennan, in his early twenties, sat in the station in May 1971, fuming. A junior member of the Brotherhood, still at school when it was first formed, he was not a number one capture, but the detectives kept their word to the two informers.
Brennan knew how he had been caught, and why. His socalled Brothers had 'snitched' to save their own skins and set him up with $1,000 haul of marijuana. Pat Brennan started thinking about the Brotherhood. It did not take him long to see. the simple lesson of his predicament.
'Wanna make a deal?'
What have you got, they asked Pat Brennan.
How about the Brotherhood? The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, said Brennan.
Neal Purcell, the self-appointed avenging angel of Laguna, the man who finally put Leary behind bars, sat opposite Brennan and listened. Woodland Drive finally made sense.
'I'd have to start around 1966 with a guy I grew up with. We went surfing together and he was in some sort of drug activity and...' Brennan's story slowly unfolded. He knew something of the beginnings, something of the LSD, something of the hash runs, Afghanistan. Brennan got his freedom.
A year earlier, Brennan's story might have fallen on stony ground. A year earlier, Purcell might not have been listening so intently. But the Laguna Beach of 1971 was no longer the free and easy Laguna Beach in which the Brotherhood first pitched camp a few years earlier. The moderate police chief of the town who believed the Brotherhood was nothing more than a loose, informal group with neither leader nor evil intent was gone. In his place was a former senior Marine MP.
The Christmas celebrations blazoned by the posters had provoked the rage of a growing and vociferous right wing in the town and its council. New statutes were being planned or passed, making it more difficult for hippies to live without running foul of the police.
The change in the town was symbolic, reflecting the attitudes developing in the Washington of Richard M. Nixon. The use of drugs indicated the moral degeneration of the country. Nixon told media executives: 'Drug traffic is public enemy number one domestically, and we must wage a total offensive, worldwide, nationwide, government-wide.'
The drug issue had great benefits for the administration as an issue which artfully preyed on public anxieties in the wake of the 1960s. Everyone knewbut could not provethat narcotics addicts committed crime to pay for their habits; the distinction between narcotics and psychedelics was not always made. Better drug control could be posited as better crime control.
Between 1967 and 1971, the federal agencies responsible for policing drug trafficking, BDAC and BNDD, its successor, grew in size and budget. By 1971, BNDD had a budget of $43 million, a fourteen-fold increase on the 1967 figure, and a force of 1,500 agents in the field. In an attempt to stop marijuana flooding over the border from Mexico, the Nixon administration set up Operation Interceptbilled as the United States' 'largest peacetime search and seizure operation'in which thousands of customs and border agents checked five million people in the space of three weeks. Intercept was a failure, but the White House liked the publicity, providing the BNDD with an increasing array of technology such as sensor devices to pick out marijuana fields from the air. The customs department had pioneered the use of computers in California to check licence plates of vehicles at border points and individuals at airports. The man in charge of shaping policy at the White House was C. Gordon Liddy; as a New England District Attorney, he had first reached national prominence by harassing Leary and the Millbrook Community.
Yet for all the public statements and increasing technology, the new drive had yet to show real dividends. In 1971 it was estimated that five million Americans had now used LSD. Although the days of the 1960s were fast becoming a bright memory, the use of LSD had not waned. In the early 1970s it was reckoned that 150 million doses, of 100 micrograms each, were sold in one year; and a survey among high school seniors in the Bay Area showed that the number claiming to use LSD did not fall but rose over the years. The amount of marijuana being used seemed to be infinite, with seizures rising annually.
Few narcotics agents were in doubt about their aims. It was already clear that picking off dealers at street level was only touching the tip of the iceberg. The aim of the game had to be to take out the sources, the main dealers. Purcell, a rising star in the newly modelled Laguna force, knew it too. Brennan, a chemist, may well have spiced his story, claiming that he was being groomed as the new Owsley for a Brotherhood which now grew its own rye for ergotamine, but he spilled enough other details to reveal a shape which whetted Purcell's appetite. Here was one of the icebergs, a secret society, a hippie mafia. Over the years many of the Brothers had been arrested: there were the raids on the ranch, Randall had several convictions for marijuana, the arrests in Britain. Purcell began to see a picture emerging. His suspicions of Woodland Drive were confirmed through the mouth of Brennan.
'Our toughest job was selling everyone, including our supervisors, on the idea that an outfit like the Brotherhood in bare feet and long hair could actually exist,' he said later. They began to believe him after Brennan. If there were any doubts, the news from Oregon dispelled them.
Glen Lynd and Robert Ramsey, his brother-in-law, were always close. Five or six years older than Lynd, Ramsey had watched him grow from a boy. In those years there was not much that Ramsey did not hear about the Brotherhood. Lynd showed him the drugs he brought back from abroad, the cars he converted for smuggling runs, and took him down to Laguna to inspect the Mystic Arts World Store. Ramsey met Andrist and the Brothers' cocaine expert. Lynd, on the periphery of the group, still kept in contact from Oregon where Ramsey had allowed his name to be used for the purchase of Brotherhood land. From Lynd he heard about life at Idylwild and the role of Leary. Ramsey was almost a father-confessor to his brother-in-law. For his own part, the Brotherhood was none of his business; Ramsey adopted a policy of live and let live.
By his early thirties, Ramsey had held a variety of jobs over the years, but in 1971 it seemed that Lynd's fascination with the drug world had finally rubbed off. Round Josephine County, Oregon, the story was that Bob Ramsey sold amphetamines. At the sheriffs office, drug suspects were constantly questioned about Ramsey and any light they could throw on the man. The sheriffs men seemed very set on busting him. The rumour was that Ramsey dealt amphetamines at 50,000 a time.
One morning in April 197 1, Ramsey popped in to see Lynd at his Oregon home. Lynd was with another man, one of the Brothers. Ramsey had met in the past, and had just taken a delivery of hash. Lynd asked his brother-in-law if he might be interested. Ramsey asked how much was available.
'Oh, I've got a little pinch here,' said Lynd, tugging a suitcase from the corner of his living room. The case held a plastic bag with half-pound slabs of hashseven or eight in all.
'That looks pretty good stuff,' said Ramsey, admiring the haul.
'It should be,' said Lynd; 'one week ago, that hash was in Afghanistan.'
Ramsey bought half an ounce for $55, but demurred at selling the rest on behalf of Lynd at a discounted price. That was all right with Lynd. He and his visitor could handle a sale without any problems. He just thought he could do his brother-in-law a favour.
A few weeks later, Lynd came to regret his generosity. He was suddenly arrested for the $55 sale to Ramsey. The sheriff s department could prove their case without difficulty. The dollar bills were specially marked, and there was no problem about Ramsey giving evidence since he was one of theirs. In March 197 1, Ramsey had joined the department, becoming an undercover narcotics officer.
Lynd got five years' probation for the charge and never spoke to Ramsey again, but it was too late, much too late; the damage had been done. Camouflaged in police and BNDD reports as informant 'CAT', Ramsey spilt out the details of the Brotherhood as he knew them, warning of hash loads on their way to the United States, tying the Brothers to Hawaii and passing on a stream of namesthirty-six in all.
Events in Oregon added fuel to Purcell's arguments. He convinced not only his superiors of the importance of the Brotherhood, but also the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the local district attorney for Orange County, who in turn called in the BNDD. A large-scale drug investigation was moving into gear.
On Woodland Drive, BNDD sent in one of its new breed of agents. Doug Kuehl's sandy hair was long and he dressed in Levis. He could merge easily into a crowd, but the Brothers were careful. A girl or a hippy would check any parked car for a radio or sign of a gun. If they were still suspicious, the car would be surrounded by a crowd of hippies. Kuehl, recalling the hours he spent trying to watch the Brothers, said: 'Hippies would flock round you. You just had to leave. Everybody in the family looked out for everyone else. They did not have to be violent when they had control like that.' Not only did such self-protection make surveillance difficult, it also threatened any attempt to infiltrate by buying into drug deals, one of the BNDD's most successful tactics. With strangers, the Brothers would only deal if the buyer came into Laguna.
If the BNDD had to give Woodland Drive a miss, the span of their organization allowed them to find other places, vulnerable spots in the Brotherhood network: places like Afghanistan.
Scotland Yard had sent over a copy of an address found during the Brotherhood arrests in Broadstairs years before. It matched one provided by CATthe Tokhis' rug shop in Kandahar.
For the first time, BNDD had an agent in Kabul. Terence Burke was a CIA veteran who spoke local dialects fluently, having served as an undercover agent alongside Interpol to break up a group of dealers running hash from India to the United States.
Burke formed a working partnership with the Interpol representative and adviser, a formidable West German prepared to use unorthodox methods and disguises to ensnare dealers. The American agent began by establishing cooperation with the Afghan authorities. He arranged to get copies of embarkation and disembarkation airline cards for American travellers; and from this basic information he got checks run at home in the BNDD files to monitor who was coming and going. He rapidly gathered considerable information on the many Californians who seemed to favour Afghanistan for visits. Burke found the smugglers often favoured a route which took them from San Francisco to Beirut to Kabul to Delhi, and back westwards. The agent's researches confirmed the Tokhi brothers as major hash dealers with an almost exclusively American clientele, and linked with the information from the United States.
Burke was on hand in November 1971 when the Tokhis left Afghanistan to visit the Brotherhood for Christmasdetails of the trip were known to the police in California even before the Tokhis set off. All along their route they were under surveillance. Once they arrived in California, the Afghanis found themselves the centre of attention in more ways than one. Wherever they and their hosts went, narcotics agents blatantly photographed and recorded almost their every move. Andrist took them to Disneyland, and the police were close behind. The party went to see wild animals at a safari park, attended by a police helicopter overhead.
In their absence Burke was busy, building up his dossiers. In Kabul he found a hash oil operation hidden behind a hotel the Tokhis often used to put up their Brotherhood guests. Perched on top of a fifteen-foot wall surrounding the house used for the production operation, Burke one night found himself almost overcome by fumes from an open window.
He was on hand at Kabul airport a month later to watch another Brotherhood trip. The Brothers were getting sloppy. Alexander Kulik, a distributor, had approached a 50-year-old unemployed Californian to act as courier. For $2,000, Kulik inveigled the man to leave his trailer home in San Diego, fly to Afghanistan and bring back 5 kilos of hash oil. Who, reasoned Kulik, would suspect such an ageing courier?
Unfortunately, the man was a sometime customs informant and, once in Kabul, decided he did not want to go ahead with the arrangement. The day before he was due to leave Kabul with the oil hidden in a special rubber vest, the man contacted Burke. The next day, as Kulik and his man were about to leave the check-in desk at Kabul airport, the courier suddenly dumped a bag hiding the vest at Kulik's feet, announced he was not going through with the flight and walked off.
Kulik himself started to follow him, leaving the bag on the ground. Burke, who had been watching the scene, stepped forward. 'Say, haven't you forgotten your bag?' he asked amicably.
'Oh yeah,' said Kulik, who started to pick it up and found himself under arrest by Afghan policemen.
Kulik got a fine. Burke got the chance to read his papers and add more details to the BNDD dossiers.
In a matter of months, the Brothers seemed to be under a lot of pressure. A major hash dealer was held and questioned in Honolulu on his way home from Afghanistan, a hash oil laboratory was discovered in Laguna, narcotics officers picked up 86,000 doses of Orange Sunshine. The Brothers shrugged it off. They still retained that Mr Magoo quality which Hollingshead discovered in the early days, walking across bridges when they were about to collapse. The agents' attempts to follow the Tokhi visit had been greeted with good humour and arrogance.
Andrist, eventually tired of the tails, deliberately drew a state narcotics agent away from the group. The agent clung on behind Andrist's big Ford Torino as it sped away. Andrist braked sharply. The agent stopped as well with a scream of brakes and a flurry of dust.
Andrist checked his mirror, gunned the engine and roared away again, still followed by the agent. With the road ahead clear, Andrist yanked the wheel and slewed the Ford across the road in a wide U-turn.
The drive was turning into an episode from a gangster film. Behind him, the agent pulled round as well. The huge bulk of Andrist looked over his steering wheel.
More U-turns. The agent was still there.
Andrist pressed the throttle down. The Ford's engine screamed as the car drew away. Then suddenly Andrist braked and once again threw the car across the road in a turn.
The agent was some way behind now. Andrist's car came back towards him slowly, menacingly. The agent could not turn in front of him.
As the two cars drew level, Andrist raised the middle finger of his right hand in an obscene gesture.
Karl Schmitt's Volkswagen camper was a much-travelled vehicle. When it arrived in Seattle early in 1971 it was at the end of a nine-month trip taking in India, Afghanistan and Hawaii. The customs men were struck by the camper and its journey and put it on a weighbridge. For some inexplicable reason, the vehicle was 490 lb heavier than when it had been exported. The customs men decided to let the camper go and see what happened.
In the winter of 1971, Mr Schmitt was still travelling. This time the camper was unloaded at Vancouver, British Colombia, because of a dockers' strike at Seattle. It waited on the dock for collection.
Early in January 1972 another much travelled camper came into Portland, Oregon. Customs men waited. On 3 January a group of Brothers turned up at the dock, expecting to clear the Volkswagen without difficulty, one of them smartly and conventionally dressed as usual to lull any customs suspicions. The customs men pounced. Inside hidden sections of the camper they found 1,330 lb of hash-the biggest load ever seized in the United States at that time.
In Laguna, Andrist tried to make up the loss. There was still the camper at Vancouver. But the customs at Vancouver were getting wiser by the minute. Checks had already been made between their office and Laguna. Why, they wanted to know, what possible reason could there be for this camper to be unloaded outside California if it was due to go to Los Angeles?
Canadian customs could understand the diversion to Vancouver because of the strike, but that did not explain why the camper was originally destined for Seattle. The Seattle customs told them of the earlier journey. The advice from US customs was to watch and wait. When a Brotherhood representative arrived in Vancouver, the customs men moved in. Mr Schmitt, alias Andrist, had a 700-lb load of hash on board the camper.
Somewhere in the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the butt of Andrist's driving skills could allow himself a wry smile of triumph. But the good news was not over yet. In Afghanistan, Burke had managed to get Ayatollah Tokhi arrested if only briefly. Ina country as corrupt as Afghanistan, the coup by BNDD special agent 107 was little short of a miracle.
Burke's information was reaching the United States and joining the growing library of flow-charts, bulletins, maps and position papers. The investigation Purcell had unleashed was getting so large that in May 1972 a council of war was held amid tight security at a San Francisco hotel to plot the way forward. Ramsey was there from Oregon with police officers from up and down southern California, BNDD agents and attorneys. The discussions, tape-recorded and later edited, ranged across the spectrum of what so far was known of the Brotherhood and by now their knowledge was considerable. By following possible Brotherhood members, agents had identified at least five businesses in Laguna and La Jolla, further down the coast, which could be front organizations. The trail of false identities used by the Brotherhood was laid outbirth certificates from New York; drivers' licences from Oregon, Utah, Hawaii, Nevada and California; military service cards; draft cards and student ID cards. Few Brothers owned cars but many used hire firms giving false addresses.
The report which came out of the meeting included examples of the false papers and a chart detailing the organization as the police understood it. At the top they ranked Leary and Hitchcock. One arm led down through Andrist and the Tokhi brothers to over twenty distributors in Laguna, Costa Rica, Idylwild and San Diego, trading in hash, marijuana and cocaine. On the LSD side, the arm stretched down through Randall to Sand and on to almost a score of People in Laguna, Hawaii, Oregon and Santa Barbara. The report added the warning that roles were interchangeable: Brothers could deal in both LSD and marijuana. It was felt, however, that the latter, in various forms, had taken over from LSD as the main market.
Given Purcell's feelings about Leary, it is hardly surprising that a great deal of emphasis was put on his role in the Brotherhood. Under the heading of modus operandi, the report noted that: 'subjects are "mystics" and study the "religious" philosophy of Timothy Leary and other sects from the Near East and European countries. Subjects frequently have Buddha statues and Eastern musical instruments and artifacts in their residence...' Subjects were difficult to interrogate, fortified by their religious sense of mission.
To help investigators know when they were dealing with Brotherhood members, the report reproduced symbols believed to be used by them. The symbols, said the report, could often be found in Brotherhood homes or written on letters. One was the Yin-Yang sign and another was the word OM, used in Buddhist chants. The report included a reproduction of a poster found in a Brotherhood house which explained OM and how to pronounce it.
At the back of the report was a rogues' gallery of suspects. Hitchcock was there in a picture taken from a newspaper. Andrist glowered out from behind a Laguna Beach police number. John Gale looked biblical with his long flowing hair and gentle smile. He had been caught a few months earlier with thirty gallons of hash oil. Sand wore his hair short in what looked like a passport photograph. Under the picture of Leary, chin up and grim, the caption read: 'Wanted Escapee'.
The BNDD produced its own report in which the Brotherhood was held responsible for 50 per cent of all the LSD and hash to be found in the United States. In an investigation, classified AM-00007, BNDD scientists had already tried to trace the extent of Orange Sunshine by analysing seizures, comparing them under the microscope and producing a ballistics table. The LSD had turned up in thirteen states right across the country. The report noted that by 1968 the Brothers were 'developing a justified reputation as being the major suppliers of LSD and hashish on the West Coast'. The report hit on one of the key problems of the investigation to date: many Brothers had been arrested on false identification, released on very low bail, then vanished. At least fifteen individuals were on the run from state and local police agencies.
The report was headed 'Justification for Possible Task Force Activity'. The justification was accepted in Washington. BNDD was going to experiment with a concerted effort, bringing to bear all resources on Operation BEL. At the same time, within California the police at state and local level were assembling their own task force to operate beneath the BNDD's umbrella. Purcell's lonely initiative in Woodland Drive had eventually mobilized a force of some 200 agents and police officers. The battle between the law and the Brotherhood was beginning to look like a primeval struggle between leviathans: ambuscades and sallies in the jungle of the drug world.
Yet for all the attention the Brothers were drawing, they continued to respond with almost haughty disdain. If the Brotherhood had been smaller and managed with a concrete set of rules, the defence might have been better than mere arrogance. But the game had become so compulsive that the Brothers did not even break off when they were caught. Out on bail, they would simply start again, acting as recklessly as ever. Take the case of James Lee Crittenden, a major distributor for LSD around Laguna on behalf of John Gale. Crittenden ostensibly worked as a $200-a-week truck driver in Mariposa. Early in 1972, Crittenden's more usual form of transportation was a Porsche which he drove with verve: on one occasion he celebrated a successful deal by licking a specially-made three-inch Orange Sunshine tablet and roaring along the Californian roads at top speed. His flamboyant style had already led to one dangerous brush with the law, when a chase along the Pacific Coast Highway out of Laguna ended with Crittenden abandoning his beloved Porsche, riddled with bullet holes.
In the spring of 1972, Crittenden, aged twenty-nine, was at the wheel of a brand-new green replacement when he was spotted by a traffic patrol making a sudden turn on the Pacific Coast Highway and accelerating through traffic.
The patrol car tried to gain on the Porsche and found that Crittenden was moving at 112 m.p.h. The red warning lights of the police car began to flash in his mirror, but Crittenden took no notice. The air was broken by the shrill sound of the police siren.
As the chase developed, the police driver thought he saw a chance to ram the Porsche and tried to move in. He realized too late that his planned collision would throw both cars into telephone poles, but he lost control. The police car slewed off the road, its lights blazing, its siren rising and falling. Crittenden pulled away, leaving the patrol car to topple into a ditch.
The driver radioed details of his chase, sending out an allpoints warning. Crittenden was now moving at close to 130 m.p.h.
A police helicopter, spotting the Porsche, pulled in police cruisers to block off the rampaging Crittenden. A car was waiting as Crittenden roared up the highway. The police driver stood out in the road waving to him to stop. At the last minute Crittenden pulled the wheel over and forced the car around the block. Behind him, a service revolver cracked out as the policeman he had narrowly missed tried to shoot out one of his tyres.
Two police cars were now in pursuit, and the helicopter was high in the sky pinpointing the Porsche's movements. The police cruisers were being driven to the maximum but they still could not close up on Crittenden.
The Porsche disappeared into a residential area under the watchful eye of the helicopter, only to return to the highway. One of the police patrols closed in, ramming the sports car. Crittenden kept control but his car was trapped in a cul-de-sac. He braked, leapt from the car, running for some fences. He jumped them as the police cars squealed to a halt behind and officers took up the chase on foot. Crittenden was cornered in a backyard.
The car was registered to a fictitious person. The police found $5,000 and markers for $150,000 in LSD deals. All Crittenden need have done was pull over and get caught for speeding.
The chase was a dramatic counterpoint to a much more solid and less exciting side of Operation BEL. The real job of bringing down the Brotherhood was being done behind closed doors in utter secrecy. On 25 July, the Orange County Grand Jury filed into court to hear the initial details of the case against the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and decide whether there was sufficient evidence to hand down an indictment on thirty people. Leary was on the list; so were Andrist, Gale, Crittenden and even the Tokhis. The first legal broadside in the case of the People of the State of California versus the Brotherhood was about to be fired.
The chosen weapon was to be the conspiracy laws framed by the Nixon administration to counter radical opponents. Before the sixteen men and women of the jury got down to work, Edward Freeman of the Orange County District Attorney's office told them they had to decide whether there was a conspiracy surrounding LSD and hash. If there was, the jury's task was 'to analyse as to whether or not these individuals are members of that conspiracy by anything they have done, and then if you so conclude then every member of the conspiracy is liable for every crime that any member of the conspiracy commits in furtherance of the conspiracy. They don't even have to know each other.'
The case, said Freeman, involved some 200 members of the Brotherhood. 'I will submit to you,' he said, 'it is not an organization that meets every Monday morning and we call roll with two hundred members there... It is a loosely knit organization with a core group.' Even as the jury sat, agents were out in the field. Evidence and witnesses would be drawn from across the world: Burke would fly in from Kabul; scientists would describe how they compared LSD doses, and local narcotics agents would describe their work in Laguna.
After a brief outline of the proposed case, Mr Freeman called his first Witness. Into court walked Robert Ramsey, recently retired from the Sheriffs Department at Josephine County, Oregon. Freeman showed him a photograph of Lynd which Ramsey identified and then began to tell the story of the Brotherhood as he knew it.
It was a long but fascinating tale, stretching from Lynd's teens when he was an occasional marijuana user and on to his gradual change into a hippy. Ramsey laced his story with prurient details of sex orgies alleged to have taken place at the Brotherhood ranch and how cocaine users bled through their nostrils after taking too much. For the suburban members of the Grand Jury, Ramsey knowledgeably testified on drug use, lifting stones and showing them the southern California drug world in which unknowingly they lived.
While the Grand Jury listened in the comfort of their air-conditioned room, Doug Kuehl and other agents were still on stake-out. Kuehl was beginning to view the Brothers with a mixture of loathing and envy. All they seemed to do was surf and have a good time, usually accompanied by beautiful girls. Kuehl drew the unpleasant task of moving from the warmth of Laguna to cold desert nights outside the ranch.
The task of breaking down the Brothers' false identities had become so difficult that agents had to travel with two suitcases loaded with all the files and pictures.
Early in August, after the Grand Jury had been at their work for more than a week, the order went out to Kuehl and his colleagues to intensify surveillance on all fronts. From now on it had to be twenty-four hours, non-stop.
At 6 A.M. on Saturday, 5 August 1972, narcotics agents picked up forty people. The Orange County District Attorney claimed the back of the Brotherhood had been broken and promised to extradite Leary. In fact, the agents did not get many people at the top, despite further sweeps.
None the less, the investigation could claim to have netted 1.5 million LSD tablets, 2.5 tons of hash, 30 gallons of liquid hash, thousands of dollars and numerous sets of identification. The California state tax board weighed in with an initial claim of $76 million against the Brotherhood.
Among those arrested was Glen Lynd. In jail, Lynd was upset at the way the Brotherhood seemed to be crashing down. He was still haunted by Griggs' death. After a lot of thought, Lynd decided he wanted to change his life.
In November, the Orange County Grand Jury sat again. Much of what the district attorney's office had offered so far was based on hearsay or evidence gathered together from police raids. Glen Lynd walked into court and changed all that. Here was the star witness who could talk about the Brotherhood from its innermost core. Lynd appeared twice, providing a 200-page testimony on life with the Brothers.
Lynd took his listeners from the early days in Anaheim to the Mystic Arts World Store, his hash run to Afghanistan, the purchase of the ranch, the dealings with Sand, the creation of Orange Sunshine, Griggs' death and on into the 1970s. Although Lynd spent much of his life in Oregon, he still travelled to Laguna occasionally and was trusted by both Andrist and Randall. At the ranch, Lynd had known Leary quite well and regaled the jury with stories of their conversations telling how Leary had helped to shape the Brotherhood.
The list of names before the original hearings had not included many of the original Brothers. Now, they were all before the reconvened hearings, including Randall. Sand was also named. Operation BEL had made a serious mistake. In the spring of 1972, both the state agents and the BNDD had assumed that the Brotherhood's major interest had moved significantly from LSD to hash and marijuana. After the August raids they began to change their minds. There was still a great deal about the Brotherhood they did not know.
Operation BEL was no longer confined to southern California. Agents began to explore connections with San Francisco and northern California. The BNDD went to look at the work of the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. One of the Nixon measures against drug dealers was a special IRS narcotics force designed to hit dealers on tax evasion.
In April 1970, Sand filed a tax return for the previous year showing a sale of stocks representing a tax debt of $376. The return was drawn up by Peter Buchanan, his tax lawyer and the man Scully and Hitchcock had both used in the past. In the box on the tax form asking about the return for the previous year, Buchanan wrote: 'None; insufficient income'. Filling in the form was like lighting a slow-burning fuse.
The narcotics investigators at the IRS were appointed to examine cases involving suspected narcotics dealing or manufacture, probing any evidence which showed up in the financial resources of the suspect, on the basis that if money is being made illegally a tax case can be made when all else fails. In the 1930s it was IRS investigators who finally put Al Capone behind bars, not the FBI. Balance sheets and bank accounts cannot be intimidated, plead the Fifth Amendment or lie under oath.
Sand had no convictions on the West Coast, but the file on him was already large. For one thing, there was the little matter of the arrest in Colorado.
On 5 November 1971, IRS Special Agent Richard L. Rathjen, attached to the IRS intelligence division in San Francisco, was assigned to look at the 1969 tax return. In Los Angeles and Laguna, Purcell and various other agents were already fairly well advanced on their work against the Brotherhood, but Rathjen started with little or nothing. He had four facts: he knew Sand's name and address; Sand was believed to be a drug manufacturer; the 1969 tax return showed one sale of securities; and the tax return had been prepared by Buchanan.
In most investigations the hunter and his quarry normally do not meet until the moment of the kill, but tax investigations often depend on a much more open approach. Rathjen's first move was to check out Mr Sand. He could say it was just another routine tax case, a few questions. With so little to go on, Rathjen had no choice but to move forward very carefully.
He met up with Sand in Buchanan's office. The tax man wanted to know why Sand had only filed returns for 1969. As Sand explained, he had not earnt any money in other years, living off gifts and loans from his mother and his wife. In 1969 he had sold the stock, and felt that it should be declared. Rathjen probed a little and Sand let slip that he kept two bank accounts: one near Cloverdale, the other in San Francisco. Despite his apparent poverty, Sand admitted he was running a small company which kept an account at the second bank.
As far as Rathjen could see, Sand's story of gifts and loans was borne out by his Cloverdale account, but in San Francisco the second account was more promising. It held $22,000 which had been deposited in cashiers' cheques originally on the account of a 'Paul Nesbitt'. Rathjen asked in the bank about Mr Nesbitt. Mr Nesbitt banked at the same branch. Mr Nesbitt had $85,000, paid in by cashiers' cheques, and Mr Nesbitt's account had a trusteePeter Buchanan, tax attorney to Sand.
For two months Rathjen and four other agents scoured the bank's records for traces of other Buchanan accounts, microfilming what they found. The mass of material Rathjen uncovered suggested that the lawyer was rather more than a financial adviser. Rathjen prepared a summons for all the records Buchanan held for bank accounts under his name. The IRS had also uncovered Stark's La Hormega company, which owned the Cloverdale ranch. Perhaps Buchanan could explain?
The confrontation between the tax expert and the tax investigator yielded no results. Buchanan was evasive. After a second, equally fruitless, session, Rathjen tried one last throw. He wanted Buchanan to know just how much had already been put together. We know, he told the lawyer, about the movement of the cashiers' cheques. We know about the $85,000 in the Nesbitt account and Mr Peter Buchanan, we know just how it got there.
The IRS agent did not expect a response. But, to his surprise, Buchanan stopped in his tracks.
Buchanan had lost his nerve. He admitted what he had done with the $85,000. Not only did he admit it but he asked for immediate immunity from any prosecution, state or federal. The IRS wondered how many secrets Buchanan might know. State and federal immunity?
In June 1972, Buchanan was subpoena'd as a witness before a Grand Jury sitting in San Francisco. Hitchcock, in touch with Randall, was growing increasingly nervous. After talking to the lawyer, he thought Buchanan might still keep quiet, but now he sent Scully off on holiday in case he too was called.
On the witness stand Buchanan was again evasive, drawing out his evidence with lengthy conferences with his own attorney, but enough was emerging for the IRS to begin investigations into Scully, Randall, Friedman and Stark. Teams of men were put on each suspect.
When Goekjian, having also been subpoena'd, arrived in San Francisco in October 1972, the threads of what was happening there were woven into the tapestry unfurled by Operation BEL and the raids in August. Rathjen's work was now part of a joint exercise between the IRS and BNDD, one of the first of its kind. Goekjian led them to Le Clocheton. Rathjen and Gary Elliot, a BNDD agent, flew to Belgium. They were too late to find Stark, although the laboratory was still intact. The investigation was accelerating beyond Rathjen's belief.
Rathjen and his superiors knew that Hitchcock was beginning to have tax problems of his own in the East. For the moment, they sat on their hands. They were also at a standstill with the cases growing against Sand, Stark and Randall. All three were nowhere to be found. Randall and Andrist both escaped the arrests in southern California. Randall was fast becoming something of a Scarlet Pimpernel, with rumours that he was to be found both at home and abroad. The BNDD men sat down to consider just where he might turn up next.
The auditorium of the Winterland Concert Hall in San Francisco was virtually deserted; the house lights were bright and the only people present were roadies moving squat black loudspeakers into position.
The Grateful Dead were due to play out the Old Year at the Winterland before an audience of San Francisco's rock elite in a concert organized by the now veteran impresario, Bill Graham. As the shutters on the pay booths came up at 6 P.m., the foyer was already packed with people waiting. But there was one young man who did not want to pay. Why should he? The Dead were a people's band. He bounced along the fourdeep line on the sidewalk, laughing and hugging strangers, up to the auditorium doors.
'Say, why don't you get some air?' Graham advised the long-haired young man, and propelled him back into Steiner Street. But he bounced back again until Graham wrapped his arms round the young man and put him back on the sidewalk.
What happened next was confused, but it ended with the young man falling under the wheels of a passing truck and being rushed to hospital with broken ribs and internal injuries. Many of the waiting crowd accused Graham of pushing him in front of the truck. It was not true, said the promoter, the guy was too stoned; he ran into the truck. If you don't believe me, said Graham, ask this man. He saw it all.
Graham pointed to an embarrassed Doug Kuehl, BNDD agent. The last thing that Kuehl, known to Graham, wanted was to have his presence announced to one and all, but Graham was telling reporters his story, explaining who his witness was. Terrific. A whole stake-out looked guaranteed to be blown.
The commotion subsided and Graham came over. To make up for the gaffe, he slipped Kuehl a steward's badge, allowing him to roam at will in the auditorium. As the concert started, Kuehl stood among the thousands of youngsters, craning his neck to see familiar faces. The packed rock auditoriums were extremely difficult to work in, presenting very high risks that an overt arrest would bring angry reaction from by-standers.
It was gone 10 P.M. now. Kuehl had persuaded his superiors that it might be worth watching the concert, even if it meant missing New Year's Eve. According to informants, the Brothers liked attending the Dead concerts, turning up after the music had begun, slipping in from their cars and bypassing the queues. Kuehl reasoned that somehow people feel safer on a holiday.
Now was the witching hour. Was Kuehl going to waste his New Year's Eve?
He began to recognize the odd face. There was John Gale, out on bail, distributing LSD as usual. Kuehl could see other Brotherhood faces. The agent's apparent fascination with the audience was beginning to rouse suspicions, despite his steward's badge. As the Grateful Dead rose to their electronic heaven there were murmurs among his neighbours.
Suddenly Kuehl's radio came on loud and clear despite the din: 'We got Randall at the door.'
Kuehl turned and pushed and shoved his way towards the exit. Outside, Randall was telling Kuehl's colleagues they had got it all wrong. He knew nothing about any Michael Randall. He was Joe Tomkins from Reno, Nevada.
Two weeks after Randall was arrested, Kuehl flew east, joined by Gary Elliot. They were bound for St Louis, Missouri, where the local police had discovered some interesting facts about a man called 'Leland Jordan'. Jordan took over a $250,000 estate in Fenton on the outskirts of St Louis in the autumn of 1972. Nothing seemed to be amiss. Mr Jordan lived in the house with two other people and appeared to be a businessman of some sort.
Over the Christmas and New Year period the house was empty, although no one told the mail woman. Delivering letters as usual, she was puzzled to find the mailbox jammed solid. A little worried by her discovery, the woman reported what she had found to the police. A patrolman went over to look around. From what he could see from the outside, the woman's anxiety was not misplaced. The Christmas tree was still on display well after the festivities, a dog bowl still had water in it and water was coming down through a ceiling. Suspecting foul play, the patrolman forced his way in. Upstairs, someone had left a tap on. He moved through the house, checking rooms, opening and closing cupboards. He found 250 lb. of marijuana. The basement was packed with chemical drums and equipment. I
The police began making checks, fast, on the police and BNDD network. Mr Jordan was none other than the missing Mr Sand. St Louis officers called Elliot and Kuehl in San Francisco. When the two agents arrived, they found the house was big local news. Kuehl and Elliot begged the police to cool things down and secure the house in case anyone came back or tried to destroy the evidence.
From police headquarters they drove out to see the laboratory for themselves. It was snowing as their car pulled up the hill to Sand's mansion; at the door they drew abreast of a taxi which a 22-year-old Canadian hippie was just paying off. The man was struggling with six or eight cardboard boxes plus a suitcase tied up with wire. Stopped by the agents, the man would only admit he had come from San Francisco. Kuehl and Elliot began to go through his luggage. They found hash, parts of a small tableting machine and pure LSD crystal, estimated to be enough to make 15 million doses.
The next day in downtown St Louis, they discovered Sand's front office. Outside the two-storey laboratory building the sign read: 'Signet Research and Development'. Behind the desk in the reception office was a display of Mr Jordan's college and university qualifications, city licences and a company calendar. Sand had bought the place, ripped everything out and rebuilt it at a cost of $500,000. The building was s tacked with glassware and equipment.
For Elliot, who had seen Stark's Belgian laboratory, there must have been a feeling of déjà vu; he reasoned that Sand's operation was probably intended as a potential replacement for the loss of Le Clocheton and suspected that Stark might have paid a visit. Sand could not only make LSDhe could also work on research projects for fresh psychedelics. The BNDD scientists were very impressed, telling Elliot the set-up was better than their own government-funded premises. In the laboratory fridge, LSD was stored in liquid form.
Sand was discovered a few days later after a tip-off, when he returned to pick up his cara beaten-up Plymouth 66. The BNDD's haul was not over-a telephone call to Sand's home led them to Lester Friedman. He left a message saying Dr Goldberg was waiting at the airport. Friedman was arrested by simply paging Dr Goldberg and waiting until he arrived at the information desk.
Yet despite the signal success of the St Louis operation, it all counted for nought. Sand wouldn't talk, calling the narcotics agents 'fascist cops' and claiming that bail demands were 'ransom'. Unfortunately, the local police, in their enthusiasm, had forgotten simple things like search warrants. Sand walked away a free man, as he had done after the seizure of his truck in Colorado.
However, the way things were shaping up in San Francisco and Laguna, it was unlikely his luck would last much longer. The IRSBNDD operations were intensifying. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was beginning to look like the Brotherhood of Eternal Self-Interest.
Leary's self-imposed exile in Switzerland was very pleasant after the traumas of life as a would-be revolutionary in Algeria. Old friends like David Solomon and Billy Hitchcock visited him. He drove a smart yellow Porsche; skied at Gstaad and St Moritz, mixed with the beautiful people. Most of Leary's spare time went into preparing a book on his escape and subsequent travels in the underground called Diary of a Hope Fiend. Having split up with Rosemary, Leary was now escorted by Joanna Harcourt-Smith, the 26-year-old niece of a London publisher and a familiar face in smart European and American circles.
Yet despite the distance from Orange County, he began to feel the pressure from Operation BEL. There were demands for Leary's expulsion and the Swiss said he had to be out by the end of the year.
Leary was running out of money, but Joanna suggested that with the help of her friends they could reach Ceylon where a yacht would be put at their disposal. Leary headed east. The couple arrived in Afghanistan on the girl's birthday, a few days after Sand was arrested in the United States. As the fugitive from justice strolled across Kabul's immigration hall, a member of the US Consul's office came forward and confiscated Leary's passport, already revoked by the State Department. For three days, Leary was kept under house arrest while Burke wheedled, bullied and harangued the Afghan authorities into deporting him forthwith.
'Burke,' cried the irrepressible Leary as the BNDD man joined him for the Pan-Am flight, 'you're famous.' Indeed Burke was, featured in a twopart article on the Brotherhood investigations by Rolling Stone magazine and a major witness before the Grand Jury in Orange County. Now the omniscient agent had been the instrument of Leary's downfall.
The BNDD man flew all the way to Los Angeles, not even turning a hair when Leary and Joanna tried to halt the flight transfer in London by claiming political asylum during the stop-over.
Once in Los Angeles, Burke formally arrested his man, handcuffed him and led Leary back to prison. The convoy of cars was followed by TV cameras; Leary, a flower tucked behind an ear, smiled broadly at reporters from a Volkswagen in the centre of the cavalcade. His girlfriend, ill with hepatitis, declared: 'I am Timothy Leary's true love and I have come here to speak to President Nixon.'
Leary's arrest was not simply a propaganda coup for the investigators. It brought a substantial consequence in the shape of Dennis Martino, a former dealer, related to Leary through marriage. On the run from a Californian charge, Martino joined the Leary entourage in Switzerland. Two weeks after Leary was held in Kabul, Martino became a BNDD informant. Burke debriefed him for three days. The agent felt that much of what he was told merely fleshed out details of the Brotherhood, but the detail was extensive; Martino suggested places where the BNDD might look for Brotherhood fugitives.
Back in California, Martino had other uses. Kuehl found that Martino could infiltrate himself among the Brothers, such as Randall, out on bail. He pinpointed fugitives hiding south of San Francisco, which led to a raid on Easter Sunday, during which one man tried to gallop away on horseback across the mountains and another disappeared into brush so thick no one thought he could get away. He did, but the BNDD picked up five others.
As the trials and legal arguments rolled on in southern CaliforniaBrennan had now become a witness as well, and others were also talkingin San Francisco the joint IRS-BNDD operation was still gathering momentum.
For months Hitchcock stayed out of reach of the investigators, who bided their time watching events in the east. Hitchcock was an increasingly worried, even desperate, man. In Pittsburgh, the local IRS department was putting together a tax case against him, while in New York he faced divorce proceedings plus problems from the SEC on stock market malpractice. Buchanan had not kept his mouth shut. Scully would not allow himself to be hidden away. In March 1973, Hitchcock surrendered. Approaching the Federal Attorney's office in New York, he offered to talk in return for a deal, leniency on his charges.
A telephone call from the New York attorney's office and Hitchcock was on his way back to San Francisco for a debriefing with federal agents and an appearance before the Grand Jury. Hitchcock told everything, naming Sand, Scully, Randall, Friedman, Druce, Owsley, Griggs and Starknot to mention the various bank accounts, the search for raw materials and a mass of other detail. Hitchcock put the agents on to the trail of Rumsey as another potential witness, and in the middle of April gave his evidence to the Grand Jury.
On 26 April, the jury handed down indictments against Sand, Scully, Druce, Friedman and Randall.
Since his arrest on the Orange County indictment, Randall, facing both drug charges and a $350,000 tax bill, had been fighting with skilful legal advice against the BNDD at every twist and turn. The BNDD pleaded with the courts that Randall's case, his background and his skill at avoiding capture required very high bail. But the courts reduced the initial figure of $250,000 to $25,000. When he was re-arrested for passport offences which Elliot linked to the Belgian laboratory, Randall was given bail of $10,000 on that charge. As the Grand Jury in San Francisco prepared the last touches to the indictment, a court in Orange County was about to consider moving Randall's bail up to $250,000 again. It was too late. Randall was also a worried man. He had fled, jumping bail the day before the San Francisco court produced the indictment. Kuehl watched sadly as Randall's relatives cleared out the fugitive's belongings from his home.
At the very beginning of the investigations, Randall told Hitchcock that nothing could happen if everyone kept quiet. He remained a fugitive and never saw the proof of his words in the San Francisco court, late in 1973, when the case against the LSD makers opened. Stark was not there either, still missing. Druce could not be extradited from Britain on a conspiracy charge and refused to become a prosecution witness despite offers of immunity. The thirty-nine day case turned into the Sand-Scully Conspiracy trial.
Hitchcock had actually persuaded Scully to give himself up, paid his legal fees and apparently tried to talk him into a guilty plea. Scully however was prepared to pay his dues, as he had always said he would. They were going to be hefty.
At the beginning of the case, the court was told that it revolved round whether Scully was responsible for the psychedelic movement in California. Yet when Hitchcock began to give evidence, it was clear from his testimony that the millionaire had played a vital role in events over the years. But Hitchcock had done his deal. He pleaded guilty to two Federal cases on tax and credit regulations in New York, and was given a five-year suspended sentence, plus a $20,000 fine. Other tax liabilities were also settled. He had immunity in San Francisco.
So did others. George Wethern, the Hell's Angel dealer, was now living under a new name and occupation as a beneficiary of the Federal Witness Program and appeared, his mental faculties damaged by the variety of drugs he had taken over the years. Glen Lynd, another participant in the Program, also appeared. Rumsey was in court; so was Goekjian. Munson was discovered after a chance remark by Hitchcock, brought out from the East during the trial, and became a surprise witness.
Sand's defence decided to call Leary from prison. The great visionary, the psychedelic revolutionary who inspired the Brotherhood, spent a day talking to one of the prosecution lawyers before he was due to take the stand. Suddenly, he no longer wanted to appear. The Orange County Brotherhood charges against him were dropped shortly afterwards.
At the end of January 1974, the jury returned its verdict. Friedman was acquitted of the drugs charges. He later pleaded guilty to a perjury charge. Sand and Scully were each found guilty of the main charges. In the course of the trial, Owsley had often watched the proceedings. Evidence began to accumulate against him, too, and the IRS attorney ordered agents to put together a case-they had three weeks to do it-which later led to a fine for the sometime master chemist.
His apprentices were not so lucky. Scully was given twenty years and Sand fifteen. Each was fined $10,000 and together faced a tax bill of over $250,000. Out on appeal, Sand, who had become very interested in medical work while in prison where he had been appointed head trustie, vanished like Stark and Randall before him.
Scully lost his appeal. His sentence, compared with those being handed out in Orange County, was extremely harsh. Andrist pleaded guilty to passport offences and was given two years in federal prison which he served concurrently with a sentence on the Brotherhood conspiracy. Gale pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and was sentenced to one to ten years, but ended serving only a few months. Crittenden, the Porsche driver, received a short prison sentence, and other Brothers received equally light penalties. Judges were prepared to be very lenient, despite the claims of the prosecutors.
Nevertheless, overall members of Operation BEL and the investigators in San Francisco were jubilant.
Their epilogue on the case was written even before the last chapter was completed. The BNDD was being restructured to become a new weapon against drugs called the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Operation BEL was a useful argument to provide the DEA with the budget and facilities it would require.
Before the San Francisco trial had even started, John Bartels Jnr., acting administrator to the emerging DEA, appeared at a Senate Sub-Committee on Internal Security. 'In many ways,' he told the senators, 'the evolution of the drug trafficking activities of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love is a tragic illustration of the cynicism into which the youthful drug revolution of the mid-1960s has fallen.'
Between 1966 and 1971, the Brotherhood was virtually untouchable, but in the course of the investigation 750 members had been identified in a business the IRS estimated to be worth $200 million.
To date, the Brotherhood investigation had resulted, the senators were told, in the arrest of over 100 individuals including Dr. Timothy Leary. Four LSD factories were seized, along with over one million Orange Sunshine tablets and 3,500 grams of crystal, capable of producing 14 million dosages; six hashish oil laboratories; over thirty gallons of hashish oil and 6,000 lb of solid hashish... Other drugs and articles seized included 104 grams of peyote, 8 lb of amphetamine powder, 13.64 lb of cocaine, two marijuana canning operations, an Orange Sunshine pill press, seven vehicles, 546 acres of property in southern California and over $1.8 million in cash, either seized or located in foreign banks. The Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board assessed the Brotherhood of Eternal Love corporation for over $70 million in back taxes.
Doug Kuehl was still out on the streets following leads: 'At the beginning of the case I said we were taking on the hippie dope dealers of southern California. Well, we won. We had never taken something out which did not appear again. The Brotherhood acid never came back.' Nor for that matter did the old Brotherhood. Kuehl now found many dealers had turned to cocaine and heroin.
But the story was not quite over. The remit for both the BNDD and the DEA which followed it centred on tracing leads affecting the United States. No one paid much attention to Stark's other interests beside California and Belgium. By what may or may not be a strange coincidence, as the investigations got under way in the United States, changes were taking place in the organization Stark had helped to foster in Britain.
In the spring of 1973, Stark, on the run from the BNDD and the IRS, passed through London and obtained a false British passportshortly after Hitchcock made his deal with the IRS. He left behind him in London an organization which would fill the gap created by the Brotherhood's downfall, producing up to 50 per cent of the LSD seized by the police throughout the world. Only the players had changednot the game.
Here Comes the Night