Newsbrief: Life Without Parole for LSD Manufacture Conspiracy 11/28/03

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A former University of California drug researcher was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday after being convicted of one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 10 grams of LSD and one count of possession of LSD with intent to deliver. Another man convicted in the case will serve 30 years with no chance of parole.


Leonard Pickard

William Leonard Pickard, 58, of Mill Valley, California, faces two consecutive life sentences after his conviction in a case that originated with a LSD lab discovered in a Kansas missile silo two years ago. In a case that the DEA trumpeted as "the largest LSD lab bust in history," DEA agents seized more than 90 pounds of LSD. A government informant, Gordon Todd Skinner, testified that Pickard and his partner, Clyde Apperson, had been producing a kilogram of LSD, or about 10,000 doses, per week at a New Mexico lab.

Other testimony in the case established that the DEA had only seized four complete LSD labs in its history. Pickard and Apperson were involved in three of those seizures, in Oregon in 1996, in California in 1998, and the present case in Kansas.

St. Louis DEA Special Agent in Charge William J. Renton, Jr., crowed that the pair were very big fish indeed and their convictions had wiped out the US LSD market. "The sentencing of William Pickard and Clyde Apperson brings to conclusion their significant role in the international production and distribution of LSD," he said. "These defendants were proven, by overwhelming evidence, to be responsible for the illicit manufacture of the majority of the LSD sold in this nation. The proof of the significance of these prosecutions and convictions lies in the fact that LSD availability in the United States was reduced by 95% in the two years following their arrest."

Pickard and his supporters maintain his innocence and allege numerous acts of prosecutorial conduct during the trial. An appeal is underway.

Visit the Pickard support web site at for further information about the case.

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Issue #313, 11/28/03 Editorial: The Presidential Turkeys | No Prison Time for Defendants in LA Cannabis Resource Center Case -- Judge Criticizes Prosecutors, DEA | Judge James Gray in Senate Bid -- Will Challenge Boxer, Call for End to Drug War | Newsbrief: Traffic Stop Not a License for Criminal Investigation, Illinois Supreme Court Says | Newsbrief: North Carolina Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession a Misdemeanor, Not a Felony | Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Questions School Drug Testing | Newsbrief: Kentucky Bill Would Let Families Commit Drug Users to Rehab | Newsbrief: US Denies Visa to Bolivian Coca Leader Evo Morales | Newsbrief: Life Without Parole for LSD Manufacture Conspiracy | Nearly One Out Of Three HIV Patients in Ontario Use Marijuana Medicinally, Study Says | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | | The Reformer's Calendar

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