Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Friday, 3 December 2010
Matthew Rhys buys Operation Julie film rights
Matthew Rhys
Matthew Rhys is currently filming US TV drama Brothers and Sisters

Welsh actor Matthew Rhys has bought an option to make a film based on a book on the Operation Julie drugs bust.

The star of US drama Brothers and Sisters also praised the world view of the mastermind of the gang who produced stashes of LSD worth at least £100m.

The book, Operation Julie, was written by author Lyn Ebenzer, based in Pontrhydfendigaid, Ceredigion.

The Cardiff-born actor, 36, has a one-year option on the tale of a 1977 drugs raid on an LSD factory near Tregaron.

Although I don't condone drugs, I was impressed by his motto, something that we could all embrace, not the LSD obviously
Matthew Rhys

Six million tabs of LSD worth £100m were recovered by the police, £800,000 was discovered hidden in Swiss bank accounts, and 120 people were arrested throughout the UK and France.

A year later 17 defendants were jailed for a total of 130 years in the wake of the investigation code-named Operation Julie.

One of the gang's ringleaders, Richard Kemp, was sentenced to 13 years in prison and his partner Christine Bott was sentenced to nine years in jail.

Christine Bott
Christine Bott was one of 17 people jailed in 1978

Mr Rhys, who is currently filming the fifth season of Brothers and Sisters, said he hoped to make an English language film for cinema release.

"After reading the book, I just thought it would make a great film because of the conflict between three very different groups, hippies, police and the rural population of Wales," he added.

"My hope would be to produce it or at least be part of the production team."

When asked what he believed should be the central theme of the film, Mr Rhys said he was impressed by Kemp's belief system.

He added: "Richard Kemp, the chemist mastermind, sums up at the end of the book that his intention was to make the world a better place and the eradication of materialism.

"Although I don't condone drugs, I was impressed by his motto, something that we could all embrace, not the LSD obviously.

"I think there's an age-old fascination with drug culture for numerous reasons, especially when that culture is placed in juxtaposition, like rural Wales."

Lyn Ebeneser
Lyn Ebenezer was a reporter for Y Cymro in the 1970s

Lyn Ebenezer said he was delighted at the possibility of a film based on his book being made.

"There is always a danger of making heroes from bad people.

"But I thought that of all those involved, Richard Kemp and Christine Bott, genuinely believed they were doing good."

Mr Ebenezer said negotiations on the deal to buy exclusive film rights of the book had taken place between Matthew Rhys and the book's publishers, Y Lolfa.

He added: "I don't know exactly how much he has paid for these rights, but I do know that I will not be retiring to Greece on the proceeds."

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