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Spanish Porn Star Charged With Manslaughter in Connection With Toad Venom Ritual

The venom contains the powerful hallucinogen DMT

Adult film actor Nacho Vidal attends the Erotic Fair Barcelona in 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

A Spanish porn star was arrested and charged with manslaughter late last week in connection with a mysterious death following a drug ritual involving toad venom.

Nacho Vidal, 46, was one of three people arrested in connection with the July 2019 death of Jose Luis Abad, a Spanish fashion photographer. Abad died after smoking dehydrated venom from an endangered toad, reportedly as part of a ritual over which Vidal was presiding as shaman.

The venom belonged to the Colorado River toad, which is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The toad secretes a toxin to ward off predators that, when dehydrated, contains the psychoactive compound 5 -MeO-DMT, or DMT, which has powerful hallucinogenic properties.

DMT has been referred to as a “spirit molecule” due to reports of people experiencing “God encounter experiences” under the effects of the drug. Very limited research suggests it may have therapeutic uses, but it also has potentially dangerous side effects, including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and in rare cases, seizures.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Vidal has publicly advocated for the use of DMT, posting a video about his experiences with the hallucinogen on his YouTube four years ago. In the video, he suggests that his encounters with the toad’s venom helped him overcome his addictions and reunite with his “spirit,” helping him connect “with what matters, which is the earth and Mother Nature.” A statement from the Spanish police force the Guardia Civil suggested that those attending the July 2019 ceremony were “highly suggestible people who were especially vulnerable and were seeking alternative ways to cure certain ailments or addictions.”

A prominent adult film actor, director, and penis-shaped candle entrepreneur, Vidal has appeared in more than 1,500 films during his career, though more recently he has largely transitioned to directing. In 2012, he was arrested and charged with tax evasion and flight of capital in connection with an alleged money laundering ring orchestrated by the Chinese mob, though he maintained his innocence and was released on bail.

In a statement to El Pais, Daniel Salvador, Vidal’s lawyer, denied that his client had presided over the ritual that killed Abad, saying “the unfortunate death” was “accidental.” “We fully believe in his innocence, but, as is normal, some facts are being investigated,” he told the paper.