Updated: Sep 30, 2021
This Day in Cannabis History:
In the span of just a few short years (1966-1972), The Brotherhood of Eternal Love transformed from a handful of stoner surfer buddies into the largest drug syndicate on earth–smuggling tens of tons of hashish into California from Afghanistan, and producing and distributing tens of millions of doses of LSD—including the infamous Orange Sunshine. Along with their guru Timothy Leary, these sacred psychedelic warriors were on a mission to turn on the world...but after a few high-profile busts, the authorities got wise to their agenda and started plotting to take the Brotherhood down once and for all. It was 49 years ago today that they finally made their move.
On August 5, 1972, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (precursor to the DEA) executed the largest drug raid in American history against the Brotherhood. Operation BEL, as they called it, was a multi-state, multi-agency operation that executed warrants in Hawaii, Oregon, and California—resulting in 57 arrests and the seizure of nearly $2 million in cash and around $8 million in drugs (including three tons of solid hashish, over 30 gallons of hashish oil, 104 grams of peyote, 1.5 million doses of LSD, and 3,500 grams of crystal acid).
Fortunately for them, several of the Brotherhood's core members were not present for the raids and were able to elude police and continue smuggling hash and making acid for decades more before finally getting caught. Nevertheless, the entheogenic empire that had been built by the infamous “Hippie Mafia” (as they had been known) was no more.