San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 1999

LSD Maker Gets 5 Years
Added to 1976 Sentence

By Bill Wallace
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Nicholas Sand, a drug kingpin who was convicted of flooding the country with high-grade LSD in the 1970s, received a five-year sentence yesterday for fleeing the country to avoid going to prison.

The sentence — the maximum allowed — was imposed during a hearing in the federal courthouse in San Francisco yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Conti, who presided over Sand's original drug trial nearly 25 years ago.

Sand, 57, was an associate of LSD guru Timothy Leary and acid pioneer Stanley Owsley during the early 1970s. Sand headed an international acid distribution network that produced huge quantities of the hallucinogenic drug at secret labs in California, Colorado and Missouri and in Belgium.

Much of the drug was marketed through a criminal organization known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, which also trafficked in false identification papers and phony passports, law enforcement sources said.

Sand, a former Sonoma County resident, was prosecuted for international drug sales following a lengthy investigation by federal narcotics agents in the early 1970s. He was found guilty and Conti sentenced him in 1976 to 15 years in federal prison.

Sand's attorney appealed his conviction and Sand was released on $50,000 bail. While out of custody he went underground in 1976 and remained a fugitive from federal agents for two decades.

In September 1996, Sand surfaced as a drug suspect in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he was living under the name David Roy Shepard, and his true identity was not discovered until his fingerprints were sent to the FBI lab in Washington, D.C., nearly two months after his arrest.

The RCMP says Sand was one of seven people who were operating one of the largest LSD labs in North American history, a facility near Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, that produced enough acid to dose every man, woman and child in Canada 1.5 times.

During his sentencing hearing in 1976, San told Judge Conte "I am very sorry for the things I have done, and I would never do anything like that again."

Sand will now have to serve the five years he received for fleeing his original conviction, plus the 15-year sentence imposed by Judge Conti in 1976.

In addition, he still faces prison for his alleged drug trafficking activity in Canada.

Nicholas Sand