Spanish porn star Nacho Vidal is being investigated for manslaughter after a fashion photographer died after inhaling psychedelic toad vapour during a shamanic ceremony in his house.
The 46-year-old Vidal was named as a suspect after fashion photographer Jose Luis Abad died from inhaling fumes from a Colorado River toad near Valencia back in July 2019.
Vidal, who has starred in more than 600 adult films, was arrested on Thursday after Mr Abad died at his home in the Valencian town of Enguera.
Mr Abad is believed to have been engaging in a mystic ritual when he inhaled vapour from the psychedelic toad.
He was arrested with another man and a woman on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and violating public health laws.
“Officers began the investigation after the death of a person during a mystical ritual involving the inhalation of vapours from the venom of the bufo alvarius toad,” a police statement said.
“At the conclusion of an 11-month investigation, we have been able to establish that an offence of involuntary manslaughter and a public health offence had occurred, allegedly committed by those who organised and presided over the ritual.”
“This was a commonly practised activity carried out for therapeutic or medicinal ends, but which posed a serious threat to public health despite being dressed up as what appeared to be an apparently inoffensive ancestral ritual,” it said.
The statement added that the ceremony involved “highly suggestible people who were especially vulnerable and were seeking alternative ways to cure certain ailments or addictions”.
Vidal’s lawyer, Daniel Salvador, said the death was sad but accidental, and denied suggestions that his client had acted as a shaman during the ritual.
He told the Spanish news agency Efe:
“Nacho is very upset by the death of this person, but he considers himself to be innocent. With all due respect to the dead man and his family, Nacho maintains that the consumption [of the venom] was completely voluntary.”
Bufo alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad or Colorado River toad possesses a very powerful toxin that it uses to defend itself against predators. The secretion contains a psychedelic substance known as 5-MeO-DMT, which medical researchers have studied as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety.