Fugitive member of 1960s LSD ring arrested
Brotherhood of Eternal Love member reportedly arrested returning from Nepal.
A fugitive member of a local group that distributed LSD worldwide has been arrested after nearly 40 years on the run.
Brenice Lee Smith, 64, was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday after flying in from Hong Kong, the OC Weekly reported.
He is being held at the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City, a jail spokesman said.
In the 1960s, Smith was a member of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a group of hippies who lived in shacks, tents and caves in Laguna Canyon, dropping acid and smoking weed.
The group, which was associated with psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, evolved into an international hashish- and LSD-distribution network that was eventually brought down by authorities.
The group smuggled hashish in from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and produced high-grade LSD nicknamed "Orange Sunshine."
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was nicknamed the Hippie Mafia in a 1972 article in Rolling Stone.
Smith was one of the group's founders, and was returning home after years living in exile in Nepal, according to the OC Weekly, which first reported the arrest.
The OC Weekly's Nick Schou, who is working on a book on the Brotherhood, published an account of Smith's life in exile after talking to two former group members, who went to San Francisco to pick Smith up at the airport.
After authorities cracked down on the Brotherhood, some of the members who escaped arrest fled the country.
The last member of the group to turn up was Nicholas Sand, the chemist responsible for producing more than 1.5 million hits of acid for the group.
Sand, who was fleeing a 15-year sentence imposed in 1976, was arrested at a Canadian drug lab in 1996. He had five years added to the sentence as punishment for fleeing.
In 1994, group member Russell Joseph Harrigan turned himself in to local authorities. He had taken an assumed name, married, and was raising his five kids.
A judge showed Harrigan leniency, dropping the charges with the district attorney's consent.
By JON CASSIDY
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER