TIMOTHY LEARY, Ph.D. Leary was the high priest of LSD. He advocated the use of the illegal substance as a “religion.” One day, on the way to work, I heard him being interviewed as he was boarding a plane coming back from Canada to the United States. Leary was a convicted narcotic violator and could not leave the US without registering with Customs.
I was just passing LaGuardia Airport. I turned the car around and parked illegally in front of the Air Canada sign. From a distance, a Port of New York Authority policeman saw me and shouted that I couldn’t park there. This played into my hands because I knew he would follow me for acting so brazenly. And I was going to need his help in a confrontation with a popular figure, such as Leary, in the crowded setting of an airport. I ran inside and located the arrival gate as Leary came down the jet way.
I asked him if he had registered with Customs when he exited the United States, he said, “No.” I placed him under arrest just as the Port Authority officer caught up to me. He helped me escort Leary to my car just as another Customs car pulled up. (I had enough time while turning around to radio for help.)
By the time we got to court the press was all over the place. Leary and I appeared in numerous newspapers all over the world. The NY Daily news headline was LEARY TAKES A TRIP, a takeoff on the common terminology for using LSD.
I stayed up to watch all this on the eleven o’clock news and Leary got the last laugh. He had been released on bond and as with any interview the reporters asked him about LSD as a religion. He said, “I almost converted two Irish Catholic customs agents.”
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