The Story of the Acid Profiteers
San Francisco — One summer day in 1968 three young men pulled a rental truck up to a mushroom shed in the Northern California village of Cupertino. They began carefully loading large metal drums and wooden crates from the shed onto the truck, and were delighted when friendly neighbors offered to lend a hand. The chore didn’t take long, and when, they were finished, the men jumped back in the cab of the truck and took off down the freeway for San Jose, a large industrial city about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. There the crates and drums were unloaded and stored in a rented suburban house.
Several weeks later, the truckload was moved again. This time the men unloaded into a rented house further north in Santa Rosa. When they were at last satisfied that their precious cargo was not being watched, they again drove north, this time to a farmhouse in Windsor, a small community about 65 miles from San Francisco.
Once in Windsor, the men unloaded and broke into crates and drums full of lysergic acid, ergotamine tartrate, glass beakers and flasks, high vacuum evaporators, chromatographic columns, bunsen burners, metal chemical stands, glass and rubber tubing, and other complex lab equipment. The three men carried it into the farmhouse, and when they were through, they marveled at the array of equipment and chemicals, for they were looking at the largest LSD manufacturing lab ever established in this country.
Eventually the chemicals taken from the mushroom shed in Cupertino would be processed and colored orange with organic dye. “Orange Sunshine,” perhaps the most famous brand of acid ever produced, would be moved in huge lots from Windsor to Idyllwild Ranch near Laguna Beach. There the acid would be taken over by the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, an alleged hippie religious organization which, under the leadership of Dr. Timothy Leary, had been set up, corporate-style, to market and distribute Orange Sunshine.
Once the acid arrived, the hippies living at Idyllwild in teepees were magically transformed into drug salesmen, distributors, smugglers, and walking advertisements for the Orange Sunshine department of the psychedelic movement. For the Brotherhood of Eternal Love was in reality the capitalistic organization behind the largest acid manufacturing and distribution ring in history.
Six years later, after acid has been “out” for so long that some think it’s about to enjoy a comeback, a brand new picture of the “psychedelic movement” has emerged. From thousands of pages of transcript of a San Francisco federal court case, from the findings of a Senate hearing on the Brotherhood, and from the wagging tongues of a few good-old-fashioned snitches, there is new evidence that the movement had a corrupt, grubby underside.
The acid craze of the 1960s was created very much the way any other short-lived fad has come into being — by a hierarchical organization backed by big money, marketing a product whose time had come. LSD was a dream product by any business standard. It could be made quickly, at low cost, with little work and the possibility of great profit, despite low per-unit cost. It could, and did, benefit from a Madison Avenue touch, as the massive spate of media attention LSD enjoyed in the late ’60s proves.
In retrospect, part of the appeal of acid was that you weren’t supporting anybody’s mob when you bought it. There was a nation-wide rumor that anybody could make it in his basement. Like most rumors, that one had a grain of truth. You could make acid if you had a basement, if you had the raw materials, if you knew the complicated procedure, and, perhaps most importantly, if you were willing to break the law.
The fact is, relatively few people came by their acid this way. Its low street price made individual manufacturing legally and economically ridiculous. Twelve hours of groovy enlightenment for two bucks was, for years, anybody’s idea of a good deal.
But the idea that acid just bubbled up from the hippie underground, with no mob reaping massive profits, was also a myth, a gigantic psychedelic bubble which is only today being burst. Right from the start the acid culture was fueled by a loosely knit corporation — a kind of counterculture-conglomerate — that mingled Harvard lawyers, low-level Chicago gangsters, Swiss bankers, New York jet setters, gold smugglers, Wall Street brokers, Bahamian bankers and real estate hustlers, university professors, international financiers, shifty lawyers, brilliant chemists, Hell’s Angels, and young heirs of old WASP money.
There was a world behind the so-called psychedelic movement carefully guarded from public scrutiny, for the same reasons syndicate gangsters don’t want you to know where their money comes from, or where it goes. The world behind acid had many twists and turns, financial nooks and legal crannies, but there was a thread which tied it all together: the classic motive of profit.
In the early ’60s, the raw materials needed to manufacture LSD were still legally available from Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Many of the acid entrepreneurs operating during this time were involved in free-lance manufacturing gambits, and though their profits were often large, their labs were small temporary operations.
As the acid rage developed, the raw materials needed for its manufacture became more difficult to get — and much more expensive. Free-lance chemists lacked both the connections and the money to obtain lysergic acid and ergotamine tartrate. At the same time, demand for the drug was increasing so fast that a more sophisticated distribution system was required.
A vortex emerged in the psychedelic storm. His name was William Mellon Hitchcock. As scion of the country’s wealthiest family, he had both the capital and international connections needed to transform acid manufacturing from a decentralized cottage industry to a big business.
“Billy,” as he’s called by just about everyone, is tall, handsome, charming, intelligent — and a Mellon heir. Most everyone rather likes the lean 34-year-old, from the maids who call him “Mr. Billy,” to the narcs and government lawyers whose job it was to prosecute him. Billy is the grandson of William Larimer Mellon — a founder of Gulf Oil and its chairman until 1945 — and a nephew of Pittsburgh financiers Richard B. and Andrew W. Mellon. His father, Tom Hitchcock, an Army officer, was considered one of the greatest American polo players of all time. He died in a plane crash in 1944 when Billy and his twin brother, Tom, now a race car driver, were small children. His mother, 73-year-old Margaret Mellon Laughlin Hitchcock, lives at 10 Gracie Square, New York, and reportedly holds the purse strings to Hitchcock’s $160 million trust fund. By his own estimates, Hitchcock gets $5 to $7 million a year in interest from the trust. The family continues to control Gulf Oil and other large corporations.
Hitchcock attended both the University of Vienna and the University of Texas, but like the illustrious sons of fortune founder Judge Thomas Mellon, who were anxious to get out and make money, he never bothered to get a college degree.
He once had the romantic notion of getting down to the nitty gritty of his money, so he tried working as a “rough-neck” on a Texas oil rig and then as a “tool pusher” or supervisor. However romantic that proved to be, he apparently preferred the wheeling and dealing world of high finance.
In 1963, after Harvard University threw Dr. Timothy Leary out because of his experiments with LSD, Leary landed, both Ph.D. and ego intact, in a 55-room mansion in Millbrook, New York — which put him about 44 rooms ahead of where he had been at his academic peak. He did it courtesy of Billy Hitchcock who charged him only nominal rent for the mansion (which Leary didn’t always pay) while Hitchcock relegated himself to the four-bedroom gardener’s cottage with a Japanese bath in the basement. (He kept his jet helicopter in the barn.)
Millbrook soon became an acid information center where intelligence on suppliers of chemicals was traded and recipes were given out. Leary and Hitchcock, who claimed to be running “experiments” in the LSD field, were actually hosts to a five-year-long acid-soaked Millbrook melee, a monster party which often filled the mansion with 50 or 60 hippies at a time, their eyeballs full of the latest batch of LSD.
The Voice’s Don McNeil, who visited Millbrook in mid-1968, returned after a weekend to describe an Eastern version of the electric koolaid acid test. Leary, McNeil said, rarely took acid, but preferred to preside over the scene, manipulating people’s trips, directing sexual liaisons, conducting the whole house like a psychedelic orchestra.
Most of the people who would later become the movers and shakers in the acid business came to visit. Some of Leary’s “experiments” caused a commotion even on a 2650-acre estate. G. Gordon Liddy, prosecutor for Dutchess County at the time, conducted a grand jury investigation of illegal drugs on the premises of the Hitchcock Cattle Corporation. Hitchcock was arrested for maintaining a nuisance, but was never indicted. Instead, the corporation was indicted and paid a nominal fine.
Leary spent most of his time at Millbrook until 1966, and didn’t actually move out until 1968, two years after the Brotherhood of Eternal Love was established as a tax exempt corporation in California. To earn pin money and extend his reputation, Leary would occasionally make the 90-mile journey to New York City and put on light shows at the Village Theatre, to the delight of teenagers from Long Island and the New Jersey suburbs. Sometimes, after the show, he would change out of his white pajamas, put on a suit, and venture into the Playboy Club, where he was known to the bunnies as a heavy drinker and ass pincher.
Hitchcock met Nick Sand (one of the three men who drove the rental truck full of chemicals to the Windsor lab) at Millbrook in late 1966. Sand was a chemist from Brooklyn with a talent for manipulating people. He had a small acid lab somewhere in New York State, and late in 1966 he visited Hitchcock at the young millionaire’s swank New York apartment. They took DET together. By that time, Hitchcock had taken acid about 25 times.
In 1967 Hitchcock met another major figure in the manufacture of psychedelics, Augustus Owsley Stanley III, the grandson of a former governor of Kentucky and U.S. senator. Even then, Stanley was nicknamed “the King of LSD.” He is thought to have made $1 million as an acid entrepreneur before LSD was made illegal, and sizable sums later on. Traveling with Owsley at the time he visited Hitchcock’s New York apartment was Robert “Tim” Scully, who would later become the young millionaire’s best friend.
Dr. Richard Alpert (now known as Baba Ram Dass) had set up the meeting because Owsley had a problem. He had been arrested for a traffic violation on the way to the city, was caught with some pot, and was taken into custody. Although he had posted bail, some of his things had not been returned, including a key to a safe deposit box at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company.
The box contained $225,000 in profits from illicit drugs. A woman companion of Owsley had a duplicate key, but they were afraid to go in to get the money and wanted an intermediary.
Whenever he needed advice on how to handle a situation, Hitchcock called an attorney. The kind of attorney he called depended on what he needed done. This time he called his good friend and childhood playmate, Charles Cary Rumsey, Jr., a nephew of W. Averell Harriman who had gotten his Harvard Law degree in 1960 but who had never practiced law. Together they called Hitchcock’s pal, Bill Sayad, Jr., another graduate of Harvard Law, who had abandoned his Wall Street practice for the greener pastures of Bahamian banking. A year before, Sayad had been made general manager of Fiduciary Trust Company, a bank in Nassau, and had many financial dealings with Billy Hitchcock. Fiduciary Trust Company was, it was later learned, controlled by Bernie Cornfeld’s Investors Overseas Services.
After consulting with Sayad, Hitchcock and Ramsey got the money from the safe deposit box and gave it to Owsley. Sayad flew up from Nassau and the money was turned over to him the next day at Hitchcock’s apartment. Hitchcock’s relationship with the bank was such that Owsley didn’t have to sign any of the usual account opening statements — and, of course, there were no tax records.
Some months later, in the spring of 1967, Sand and Hitchcock made plans to move to Northern California and go into the acid business. Hitchcock decided he would continue to operate his investment business by phone. Scully, Owsley, and others who had come and gone at Millbrook, were already in the Bay Area.
By then, California was the Mecca for the counter-culture. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a small group of like-minded people living together, smoking dope, and dropping acid, had already been established in Laguna Beach. Somewhere along the line this straggly group of beach boys and farmers gradually merged with Dr. Timothy Leary’s League for Spiritual Discovery. Both Leary and the hippies traveled back and forth between Millbrook and Laguna Beach, and soon Leary became both the patron saint and the spokesman for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
At about the same time the Millbrook crowd moved to Northern California, the Brotherhood in the south took on another dimension — hustling drugs on a large scale for profit. Their commercial endeavors revolved around Mystic Arts Beach, a head shop in Laguna Beach, which was begun as a legitimate business but soon shifted to trafficking marijuana smuggled from Mexico and LSD smuggled from Switzerland. The Millbrook crowd was well aware of the progress of laws covering specific drugs and knew that Switzerland was about to dry up as a supply depot for acid.
Leary was the advance man for the chemists and financiers coming from Millbrook. He was also quite a drain on the Brotherhood finances. He traveled constantly and had no apparent source of income. His function in the organization was public relations and advertising, and his act was in the best tradition of Madison Avenue propagandists.
Hitchcock, who had left his wife and children behind in New York, says he was barely settled in his new quarters in Sausalito when he was visited by Scully, who told him he was working in a lab manufacturing synthetic drugs and needed money to buy glassware to complete his manufacture. “We talked philosophy,” Hitchcock explains. “Ideologically Scully and I had a meeting of the minds as far as the altered state of consciousness that psychedelic drugs produce. We became close friends. He asked for $10,000. I agreed to loan it with interest. It was repaid with substantial interest in six months.”
In 1969 Hitchcock put Scully on a retainer of $1,000 a month and provided expense money so he could experiment with drugs in his laboratory. In return, he was to turn over the drugs he manufactured.
Scully, now 29, is a genius whose intelligence exceeds the I.Q. scales. He came to the attention of Bay Area scientists when as a seventh grader he built a computer that won a prize in a science fair. Part of his prize was a tour of Lawrence Radiation Laboratories in Berkeley. Scientists there took such a liking to him that they invited him to work with them.
In high school Scully spent almost all his time working on a linear accelerator designed to change mercury into gold. He was deeply involved in the project and had little time for friends or other high school subjects. His teachers eventually became so frightened that they would be sued for allowing a radiation hazard in the school that they asked him to leave. Scully’s alchemy period came to an abrupt end.
Scully then enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley where he studied mathematical physics and continued his work at the Radiation Laboratory. He soon began doing lucrative consulting work, designing radiation detection equipment in his grandparents’ attic. He became so involved in these projects that he dropped out of school and quit working at the laboratory. He began building instruments for parapsychology research, which led to an interest in psychedelic drugs.
One day in 1965, Owsley, who had heard about Scully’s interests, paid him a visit. Besides being the “King of LSD,” Owsley was the sound man for the Grateful Dead. He told Scully he wanted to develop specialized instrumentation for rock bands, and he took the thin, quiet genius on tour with the band. Scully had never had so much fun in his life. About seven months later, Scully, who had no experience with chemicals but was fantastic at library research, was making LSD for Owsley near Berkeley.
After the raw materials had run out, Owsley said he was going to take a break, but staked Scully for another lab he decided to set up in Denver. Because Owsley couldn’t get the lysergic acid and ergotamine tartrate from his former supplier, Scully made STP, which Owsley wholesaled to the Hell’s Angels.
When Owsley and Hitchcock met in New York, Scully happened to be there because he had come from Denver to get more money. ”Owsley,” he later explained, “kept me on a short string financially.”
STP was a weird, jittery drug that didn’t sell very well, and Scully didn’t particularly like making it. He tried to talk Owsley into going to Europe in search of raw materials and was told that Hitchcock was the man to talk to.
The meeting of the minds between the millionaire and the genius contained one disagreement. Scully thought his new friend should donate the materials and equipment to the “movement” and give the drugs away. Hitchcock told him that people didn’t value things they got for free.
Meanwhile, Nick Sand, the extrovert chemist, started a phony chemical company in San Francisco known as D&H Research, which also was a psychedelics lab where he had been making various drugs, though he lacked the raw materials for LSD. Like Scully, he was on a $12,000-a-year retainer from Hitchcock. He moved to a ranch in Cloverdale, 90 miles north of San Francisco, along with other Brotherhood members.
Sand’s capacity for moving on almost any level allowed him to feel at home with such characters as John T. “Terry the Tramp” Tracy a Hell’s Angel who wandered around the ranch shooting locks off gates for amusement.
The Cloverdale Ranch, which was adjacent to a small airport, was purchased for $155,000 in the name of Peter Buchanan, one of Hitchcock’s questionable San Francisco lawyers. According to Scully, the ranch was Hitchcock’s reward to a group of his associates who could live there as long as they pleased. He also hoped it would be a good investment.
Besides loaning money, helping with banking problems, and putting chemists on retainers, Hitchcock was a one-man legal aid society for the Brotherhood. Leary’s 1965 marijuana arrest at the Mexican border led four years later to a Supreme Court ruling in his favor but involved vast amounts of legal work and a heavy chunk of Hitchcock money. Lower echelon Brotherhood members got legal advice over the telephone from Hitchcock lawyer Al Matthews without even giving their names. He supposedly used codes to keep track of Brotherhood members and their various legal problems. Matthews also put up bail when necessary, and defended lab assistants caught in raids. He worked from a defense fund which was replenished by Hitchcock from time to time. Eventually Hitchcock even put up $10,000 for Scully’s defense, though he testified against his friend.
While living in Sausalito, Hitchcock continued to operate as a stock broker through Delafield and Delafield in New York. He had four or five accounts besides himself — all friends or relatives. According to Hitchcock, his employment with the brokerage firm was mostly related to pushing stock in Mary Carter Paint Company, now known as Resorts International, Inc. This much-investigated corporation owns the gambling casino, hotels, restaurants, realty companies, and other interests on Paradise Island and elsewhere in the Bahamas, and should be familiar to readers of The Voice. (See “From CREEP to Bebe to Casino to Nixon’s Swiss Bank Accounts?”, Voice, November 1, 1973, “Everybody’s in Bed with Everybody Else,” Voice, January 31, 1974.)
Hitchcock’s work with Mary Carter–Resorts International involved the initial financing of the island, and big investors were invited to buy shares not listed on the open market. He spent a great deal of time in the Bahamas in 1966, 1967, and 1968.
From his new position in Sausalito, Hitchcock contacted Charles Druce, a British chemical supplier who had the connections necessary to obtain large quantities of the starting chemicals for acid. Toward the end of 1967 Druce came to Sausalito to discuss prices.
Druce, currently a fugitive, is best described as a double-dealing scoundrel. According to Hitchcock, Druce pressed him to invest in a poultry feeding operation he said he was establishing in Iran. Even though Hitchcock realized this was a phony corporation, he made an investment of 5000 pounds sterling just to get on Druce’s good side.
Druce and his partner flew back to London, and Hitchcock took off for the Bahamas to attend the opening of the new Paradise Island Casino, a dazzling New Year’s affair which attracted such normally non-social personalities as Richard Milhous Nixon and his close friend, Charles G. “Bebe” Rebozo. Hitchcock claims he never spoke to either Nixon or Rebozo, but it is known he was called before the original Watergate grand jury to give testimony concerning the Bahamas.
The spring of 1968 found Hitchcock back in the Bahamas again, this time in the company of his acid partner, Nick Sand. He stayed at the home of his banker, Sam Feranis Clapp, a Harvard lawyer who was chairman of the IOS-controlled Fiduciary Trust Company. Hitchcock had known Clapp since 1964 and had a number of accounts at the bank. Bahamian banks, which stand on every street corner of Nassau, have long been popular temporary repositories for American funny-money as well as handy offshore way stations for Swiss banks.
Hitchcock was called before the SEC in 1965 to testify about his relationship with the Fiduciary Trust Company. He lied several times during his SEC testimony, saying there was no connection between the Fiduciary Trust Company and the Investors Overseas Services (then controlled by Bernie Cornfeld), when in fact IOS controlled the bank.
Late that spring, when Sand needed a place to stash $70,00 in ill-gotten money, Fiduciary Trust was only too happy to open an account for Hitchcock’s buddy.
Hitchcock’s connections in the Bahamas were so heavy that he began favoring the islands as the location for an offshore acid laboratory, perhaps on a cay. Joining in the discussions was Lester Friedman, a brilliant chemistry professor form Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who was working on simplifying the synthesis for LSD.
In July 1968, Clapp informed Hitchcock he was in the process of liquidating Fiduciary Trust Company and that his various accounts would have to be transferred. It was about this time that laws regulating Bahamian banking were changed, particularly in regard to secrecy. Hitchcock decided to put the money in Switzerland. In August Hitchcock went to Zurich’s J. Vontobel and Company, a private bank, and used $25,000 to set up a Lichtenstein corporation called Four Star Anstalt which was to be the vehicle for purchase of land in the Bahamas.
While in Switzerland, Hitchcock ordered $32,000 transferred from numbered account 1315 at Paravicini Bank, Berne, as a “loan” for the purchase of ergotamine tartrate.
From this point on the financial transactions grow more complicated but Hitchcock has said he personally turned over $98,000 in cash the following October to one of his Swiss bankers, Freddie Paravacini, at the offices of T. Mellon and Sons, Pittsburgh. (T. Mellon and Sons, on the 39th floor of the Mellon–U.S. Steel Building, conducts no business of its own and has no assets. It has both offices and suites for various branches of the family and was set up as a device for exchanging intelligence and concerting actions within the family. Uniformed guards inspect everyone who gets off the elevators. It was a good, safe place for an exchange of cash.)
The man who owned the Paravicini Bank, Freddie Paravicini, was useful to Hitchcock in several ways. Through the bank, he hid money Hitchcock had made in the LSD business, and concealed its source by falsifying records. He also helped to conceal the money for income tax purposes. In fact, years later Hitchcock would say that if his Swiss bank accounts had not been discovered he would never have been caught violating any laws.
Hitchcock’s friendly relationship with Paravicini was based on substantive grounds. Together they had pulled off the largest violation of SEC Regulation T ever to come to light.
Regulation T sets the margin or credit which stockbrokers can extend to their customers. It is designed to prevent a market crash like that of 1929. The legal margin varied between 20 and 30 per cent while Hitchcock and his partner, in 1969, bought and sold over $40 million in stocks on virtually 100 per cent margin. They had Paravicini and his bank buy and sell securities for them — from them. The money they were using simply didn’t exist.
In the beginning this was a highly profitable operation, but eventually Hitchcock made a bad choice of stock and took a bath. His losses in the Regulation T violation are believed by some of his friends to be the reason for his later involvement in the acid business. But none of this was apparent until years later.
In the meantime, Hitchcock hired a well-known New York lawyer, Michael Standard of Rabinowitz, Boudin, and Standard, to research which psychedelic compounds were illegal and which were not currently covered by rapidly changing U.S. laws. He also instructed Scully to search out countries or islands that had neglected to pass laws prohibiting the manufacture of psychedelics.
Eventually the Brotherhood set up both LSD and hashish labs in Costa Rica. Members of the LSD arm of the Brotherhood working there met George Grant Hoag, the young heir to the J.C. Penney fortune, who owned a villa overlooking the ocean. He was returning to the U.S. and told his new hippie friends they were welcome to stay at his place. They promptly moved in and set up a lab.
Some weeks later, federal narcotics agents checked in at the consulate on their way to raid the lab. Before the agents had even left the building, word of the impending arrests was passed through the local grapevine. Impoverished locals stormed Hoag’s home, took all his possessions, and butchered his cattle on the spot. Hoag said later he had no idea the Brotherhood group was involved in acid making. He says the incident cost him half a million dollars.
Foreseeing busy times ahead, Hitchcock called Rumsey to come to California to take care of the final blow to Hitchcock’s rapidly failing fortunes as an acid magnate.
Mrs. Hitchcock’s attorney told her husband’s accountant about the Swiss bank accounts. The accountant told Hitchcock he’d better bring the matter to the attention of the government immediately or he could turn Hitchcock in.
The airlines were mobbed by Hitchcock’s motley collection of advisers. Paravicini flew to New York, the accountant flew to New York, attorneys flew to New York, attorneys flew in from all over. It was decided that Hitchcock should get out his checkbook. He immediately mailed a check to the IRS for $500,000. This was supposed to cover unpaid taxes and potential fines. He even sold part of his interest in the Millbrook estate to his mother to pay for his estimated back taxes.
Hitchcock’s other pressing problem was Charles Druce, his erstwhile acid-starter-chemical-supplier. The good Englishman was blackmailing him through a London bank, threatening to turn him in to Scotland Yard if he didn’t cough up a quick $20,000. Hitchcock was indignant. Naturally, he hired a capable solicitor to take care of the bothersome blackmailer.
In the spring of 1971 Hitchcock moved to Tucson for reasons he has never made clear.
Paravicini closed the bank (which was in trouble anyway) and headed for the Costa del Sol where he remains, fretting from time to time about whether he will ever be extradited.
By the summer of 1972 grand juries were convening in both Northern and Southern California and Hitchcock began spending most of his time at his mother’s place in Canada to avoid a subpoena.
Hitchcock had an understandable interest in seeing that Scully steered clear of the grand juries as well. So Hitchcock began a six-month seduction of Scully, offering him money and free trips to Europe to keep him from the law’s grasp. Michael Boyd Randall, at Hitchcock’s direction, gave Scully $5000 and instructions to take off for Madrid. But after a few months in Europe, Scully got restless and came back. This time Hitchcock closeted him in Canada, but again Scully’s yearning for California sunshine overcame his fear of the grand jury. Finally Hitchcock convinced him to move out of his house and lay low. He telephoned Scully’s hideout weekly to make sure he was staying out of the way.
In February 1972, Hitchcock’s elaborate dodging fell apart when he was indicted for income tax evasion as a result of the L.A. customs incident and subsequent discovery of his Swiss bank accounts.
Under indictment, Hitchcock freaked. He met Scully in California and told him he was going to become a government witness. His family was furious at him, for his activities and further embarrassment of the Mellon clan or a drug conviction would mean the loss of his $160 million trust fund. He begged Scully to make a deal with the government and turn state’s evidence too. Scully refused.
Scully and Hitchcock flew to San Diego to consult with Randall, who told them there wouldn’t be enough evidence to convict anyone in the drug case if Hitchcock refused to testify. As it turned out Randall was right. But the case came to trial last November and Hitchcock turned on his friends, hoping his testimony against them would save him from a prison sentence for tax evasion and SEC violations. His testimony was often in direct conflict with Scully’s.
Tim Scully, who claims he told the truth on the stand, got 20 years.
Nick Sand received a 15-year sentence.
Lester Friedman, the Case Western Reserve chemist, faces two years.
Owsley Stanley, who had spent two years in prison already, was forced to pay $142,276 in back taxes, plus penalties and a $5000 fine.
Peter Buchanan, the Hitchcock lawyer who still lives in Berkeley and who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, was given immunity for his testimony, but had a memory loss on the stand. No action has yet been taken to disbar or censure Buchanan or Rumsey.
Ronald Hadley Stark, Michael Boyd Randall, and Charles Druce were all indicted but remain fugitives.
Billy Hitchcock copped a plea on charges filed against him by the IRS and the SEC. He got a five-year suspended sentence and $20,000 in fines, on the condition that he cooperate with the government law enforcement agencies.
Timothy Leary is in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago. In an effort to secure parole from federal prison, he recently decided to cooperate with a department of Justice investigation of the Weathermen, the Brotherhood, and his involvement with radical politics and drugs. He is being held in solitary confinement because federal law enforcement officials fear he might be killed by those he has turned against.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 22, 2019