Talk:William Leonard Pickard

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Need some help![edit]

Ok, wow, this article needs help. I wrote most of the original article and added all the cites, which link to documents on my Scribd account, and someone has done a LOT of adding to it. Most of what is added is unnecessary material, just facts from the case that are being presented here but are not encyclopedic at all. They should be for someone to read in the court testimony if they so choose. Someone please help me remove? jlcoving (talk) 21:34, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

    • UPDATE: I reverted back to one of my last previous edits, I have no problem adding some of the information from the court documents, guys, but please do it along the Wikipedia guidelines. We can't just add every interesting fact of the case; people can follow the cites themselves and read if they would like to. That is what the cites are for. jlcoving (talk) 21:40, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Research is harder and slower than tagging what you don't understand[edit]

Re: the 'Living Person Bio' tag above:
This case is hardly new. But this article is not improving- It's going backwards, reflecting the general ignorance noted by outsiders in America & among Americans. There's nothin remotely libellous possible here- the guy got life for the one thing he's notable for. Now- Would it be simpler to ignore any cultural mess which Pickard's case represents and not tangle with any difficult balance? Maybe it'd just be best for Wikipedia (WP) Editors to use only 'official' corporate/government sources.

Except the difficulty here is *not* due to the failings of editors who contribute reports and research to the article. The perceived problems with the article stem from disturbances in our culture. Unlike slicker, more popular WP articles which can arrive largely imported, from other reference works, packaged corporate/government PR, or which attract a lot of interest and lots and lots of smart and clever Editors- This article lacks any such Class privilege.

So to address the long list of complaints which follow: Give yourselves a break- This will be a slow, hard article. You 'could' try to do some research, but that means getting involved with Pickard- an oddball criminal. Worse it offers a complete lack of Drive-By Edits.

As the nature of political systems under the New world order (NWO) increasingly distorts info on state matters such as "enemies", few centralized, in-depth articles have ever been developed on Pickard- only ONE in the national press (RollingStone), and nothing comprehensive. There have been small bios published & lotsa attention around the case- but the man had a "checkered past"- one he's consistently obscured. His infamous LSD court case is curious for reasons of its own- Problems equally exist in the official "facts". For instance a central prosecution point remains unclear. The 'verifiable' published estimates on the quantity were absurd. I have yet to locate any evidence that the prosecution knew the quantity of LSD involved, latterly using the term "more than 10 gms". I believe it was reported that this case led to some investigation of the FBI evidence lab. Pickard's prosecutors have elsewhere been repeatedly embarrassed. Many such references remain out there. But they are not anywhere well cataloged. And then- all the Editor can do is report the diverse sources, confused as they frequently appear.

OTOH- Should we revert bold reports because they are confused, unattributed, not yet perfected? For every editor who works gradually to develop more complete pictures of the unfamiliar, removing every "controversial" (ie., unpopular and/or unsourced) bit of info before it can be verified will tend to move unfamiliar articles "2-steps back". Removing obscure data is "Drive-by editing" at its worst. It tends to produce forgetting- and further ignorance.

Embracing the strange, difficult and the novel keeps us informed. The State though is served by our simply continuing to point out simple, obvious issues, demanding deletions on grounds of blind ideology. There is an alternative: Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built. Better and more productive is to research- to build and to validate- and to create a consensus of informed readership.
Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 09:59, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Easy on the LSD there buddy -- (talk) 10:35, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Needs to be rewritten[edit]

This article reads like it was written by his defense attorney. And I say that as someone that completely disagrees with our so-called "war on drugs".

I suggest rewriting it so that it focuses more on known concrete facts. Then include a section that discusses the controversy, giving arguments from both sides.

The way it is written now, the article has very little credibility. Even I, who thinks that all drugs should be legalized and thinks the "war on drugs" is a load of crap, looks at this article with a very skeptical mindset, because the article is so obviously biased to one side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

AND this post reads like Prosecutors invented it. You give no indication of any familiarity with reporting on the case- Only frequent references to your (s'pozedly irrelevant) prejudices. Why?
There's more than prejudice at work though- there's a reward. That the feds altered LSD-quantity numbers between the arraignment & the indictment at the Pickard trial is a tacit admission that the original allegations were way off- by at least one magnitude. Speculative? The Feds arent talking, but matters since show this case is not a shining moment for "justice". A "skeptical mindset" would serve us all rather well when dealing with larger problems where our simple position is a liability. Throughout history, the alternatives have been dangerously naive. Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 10:30, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

if anything it should be written in his defense he was given an unfair sentence max he should have gotten should be 20 years at max. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 31 August 2009 (UTC)


There is some stuff on this page that makes no sense at all, like the quote refuting the previous post.

Move material[edit]

This is some material taken out of the article. I'm not questioning it's accuracy or value, it just didn't work in its current form. Someone more familiar with the facts should be able to clean it up better.

  • This should be verified and/or re-written with more precise details.
    • After his arrest, a US Government press release alleged that 91 pounds (41 kg) of LSD had been seized in the case. Several newspapers reported this number, but its accuracy is uncertain. however further investigation and government testimony seems to indicate that this number is inaccurate and the real amount may have been as little as one half pound of pure LSD, still enough to manufacture about 10 million individual 20-microgram "hits".
  • Some miscellaneous biographical data, not sure how this should be structured or presented.

Former Deputy Director, Drug Policy Analysis Program, UCLA; Research Associate, Harvard Medical School, Division on Addictions; Harpel Fellow in Drug Policy, Harvard University Interfaculty Program on Drugs and Addictions; Areas of Interest: "Future and Emerging Drugs", Drug Incidence in the Former Soviet Union, Control of Chemical Weapons Affecting Cognition, Policy Implications of Advances in Drug Design.

  • These bits seem unencyclopedic.
    • "Refuting the previous posting Pickard states that he does not know the actor Harvey Fierstein, has never hosted raves, was not present at any heroin overdose incident." For more information follow the link to, and correspondence is invited to William Leonard Pickard at POB 5500, Adelanto, CA 92301

Peter Grey 8 July 2005 21:26 (UTC)


That should surely be 'grams', shouldn't it? I have a hard time imagining the North American LSD market is as big as ten million doses a month... (talk) 05:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Absurdly fantastic quantity was just part of what made this LSD case celebrated. Read up on it- below. Hilarleo (talk) 00:50, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

nah bro these guys where the top dogs in the lsd game. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I can't imagine they were really that professional as is crazy to move the stuff every 2 years - that is way too risky. -- (talk) 23:11, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I have the transcripts from every day of Skinner's testimony, transcript of sentencing hearings, and lots of motions and other documents in between and prior to trial. According to testimony, they were producing a kilogram of LSD every 5 weeks. Though the government calculates the value at retail level; the value for the kilo is more around $2.97M, as their largest customers (which is most of their customers, since they aren't exactly selling vials) paid a mere $.29/dose. jlcoving (talk) 01:42, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Re: Quantities and Other Info[edit]

I've done a fair amount of reading on this trial, and as it was reported in the Topeka Capitol Journal, Pickard and Apperson were charged with :

'Topeka Capitol Times' "A federal court jury in Topeka convicted Apperson and Pickard of conspiracy and possession of LSD with intent to distribute more than 10 grams. Each faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life without parole."

Regarding the numbers that the DEA reported to Congress, what I've read suggested that the DEA added up the weights of all the chemicals found at the site and listed that quantity as the quantity of LSD-proper that they discovered. I have no verifiable sources on that though. Considering the huge quantity of Ergotamine Tartrate (the incredibly difficult to procure main precursor chemical to LSD) that these guys were in possession of (40 kilograms according to the trial discovery information) I don't doubt that they were in a position to make many tens of millions of doses (or more). However, the details of the case suggest to me that Pickard was trying to disassociate himself with Skinner (the DEA's informant) and the LSD lab was moved to Skinner's missle silo site without Pickard's approval, and when Pickard and Apperson were busted, they had just finished packing up the lab and were in the process of trying to move it away from the silo site. There are a number of odd aspects to this case. For example, it seems Skinner turned informant for no apparent reason ' - Unusual Aspects'.

Regarding whether the North American LSD market is as big as ten million doses a month, I don't doubt that it may be somewhere in the several million dose range, but if you get into the details of this particular case, you'll find that much of the LSD that these guys were creating went to Europe. They received payment in Dutch guilders that they laundered at casinos.

The website has links to all the local news coverage of the trial, and there are some very interesting bits of information in those articles.

WhenPantsAttack (talk) 20:48, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

What happened, according to testimony, is that Pickard was out of the country; Apperson was in the hospital or some such. The lab was supposedly flooded with water running over wires running around the place and in "horrible" condition according to Skinner. Skinner calls Pickard, tells him there is an "emergency" and Pickard gets very angry and tells him not to do anything. Skinner calls people he knows, including his father, and has them move the lab into a different building on the property. Apperson shows up a day or so afterwards asking to see the lab. Skinner lies and says it is in Tulsa, OK because he knew Apperson needed to get back to the west coast shortly and hoped he would give up on seeing it due to the distance of the drive. The truth was the ET and other lab materials were in the living quarters of the Atlas E base.
So he tells Apperson the materials are near this facility called the "Looking Glass Facility". They go there and Apperson is about to jump the fence to verify it's there, but Skinner once again lies and says the NSA runs this facility and there are cameras everywhere and it would probably be best not to draw attention to themselves. Skinner, knowing how careful both Pickard and Apperson are, knew this would be enough to stop him. Since if it was true, the NSA would investigate the breach and potentially discover the lab. Skinner most DEFINITELY set them up to get arrested and orchestrated the whole thing. Since the property was in his name, he had the authority to let the DEA come in without a warrant to do a "sneak and peek" and then use what they saw to get a proper search warrant. If you read the transcripts completely (I have, it's hundreds of pages but lots of good info if your interested in a topic which is rarely revealed -- high level LSD trafficking/manufacturing) you will see how this Skinner guy is a huge low-life and its obvious he constructed this elaborate story to minimize his involvement in EVERY aspect. jlcoving (talk) 01:59, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Article overview[edit]

My main problem with the article isn't a lack of NPOV, but rather a lack of facts. We know very little about Pickard from the article, without even details of his sentence, the circumstances of his life (gee-whiz! was a science guy in early life)... and the article is as written "rather like it was written by Pickard's defense attorney", except that an attorney would have written better and would have created a more logical defense of his client. V. Joe (talk) 12:59, 2 May 2009 (UTC)


I agree that this paragraph is inappropriate for an article on a living person, so I've moved it here. The paragraph, suggested for removal:

Within the recreational drug community, Pickard's record is controversial. Alexander Shulgin regarded his former student as having "pulled a Leary"- a reference to Harvard's original 'LSD Guru's quest to democratize the psychedelic drug experience at the expense of life-long notoriety, and some limits to his personal liberty and economic ability.[citation needed] Like Leary in the 1960s and 1970s, Rolling Stone even followed Pickard after the arrest publicity, publishing one article: "The Acid King" [1].

1. Where is the reference for the Shulgin quote? 2. So what if Rolling Stone wrote an article? That is not controversial.Tova Hella (talk) 12:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^ "The Acid King". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008 05-05.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

New work coming[edit]

I've been researching this case thoroughly, reading through thousands of pages of court testimony and other sources. I'll be updating it to the best of my ability in the weeks to come. This article could be much more detailed and if anyone is familiar with the subject I'd appreciate the help in re-working it. I think more attention should be paid to Gordon Todd Skinner and his own legal problems and the fact a New Jersey judge previously determined him to be of "very suspicious character and cannot be trusted."jlcoving (talk) 22:54, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


This article sucks and is all plagarized from the small number of sources. I think it should be put for deletion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:13, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. The main sources are .pdf documents that are court testimony from one of the main conspirators. The rest CITES sources when information is used. jlcoving (talk) 21:56, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I also strongly disagree. This is a topic that relates to the history of crime in the United States and regards a novel case with an exotic element (sophisticated clandestine activity) that may be unprecedented. Microswitch (talk) 01:45, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Longtime Federal Informant[edit]

Wasn't Pickard acknowledged to be a longtime Federal Criminal Informant who cooperated repeatedly with authorities over the decades following other busts?? I believe this is mentioned in the RS article and coverage from Kansas. He also offered to co-operate with the DEA following the silo bust as is reported in the public record, no??? Why not here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 11 February 2010 (UTC)


Media reports are inaccurate, given that Pickard in the 1988 case after arrest was denied bond, and completed the entirety of the maximum California state sentence. Details to be posted on Scribe. Similarly, bond was denied in the 2000 case, Pickard pled innocence, went through the longest trial in Kansas history, and has served 10 years of a double life sentence. There was no cooperation, or sentences would have been reduced.

Microswitch (talk)

29.75 cents claim not supported by reference?[edit]

Government informant Skinner testified Petaluma Al and the largest wholesale customers of Pickard paid 29.75¢ (or a little under 30¢) per 100 µg dose, which would put the cost at around $2.97 million for a kilogram of LSD.[2]

I've read the entirety of the linked transcript, did keyword searches on it locally and on Scribd, and I cannot find these per-dose figures in the transcript. Where are they coming from?

The closest I can find is towards the end around pg112-114, where Skinner says that there was a kilogram of LSD at the lab and also that Petaluma Al was going to pay $300k for an unspecified reason. If that $300k was for the kilogram, then obviously a kilogram cannot be $3m as claimed! And if you multiply it out (1000 * 1,000,000 / 300,000) you get 3333µg/$, and 1/3 of that is 1111µg, which is a lot bigger than 100µg... --Gwern (contribs) 21:01 21 January 2013 (GMT)

it's on page 7 HERE. Raquel Baranow (talk) 16:33, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that seems right. There's an error, though: Skinner says on pg8 that they didn't sell a kilogram at $2.97m, but $2.975m. I'm going to improve that section with a direct quote and some more specificness about what exactly Skinner was saying. --Gwern (contribs) 22:05 22 January 2013 (GMT)

I apologize, this Talk page wasn't "watched" so I just noticed this discussion today when I noticed an edit mentioning a "Raquel Baranow." I wrote the majority of this article and downloaded the documents off PACER for sharing on my Scribd account; I also write to Leonard every now and then. I can assure almost everything in this article with specifics to the lab and how they did business was cited directly from the court documents. They are voluminous, so I understand if you don't immediately find them. jlcoving (talk) 04:33, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Rolling Stones Reference[edit]

Reference #5 is currently a broken scribd link. Can someone get a new link for the same reference?

What is correct birth location?[edit]

In 2016, an anonymous edit changed the birth location from Mill Valley, California to DeKalb County, Georgia. Which is the correct location? • SbmeirowTalk • 18:02, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

Removed external links[edit]

Edits tonight[edit]

User:Barnrazor your edits violate several policies - WP:PROMO, WP:V and WP:BLP. If you don't understand why please ask. Jytdog (talk) 05:25, 23 October 2016 (UTC)