Spanish National Police have shut down a suspected shamanic ritual den run by a British couple who are said to have used hallucinogenic frogs to get punters high.
Officers seized frogs, cannabis, magic mushrooms and other drugs such as ayahuasca in the raid on the house in Yecla, in the southern region of Murcia.
A British couple reportedly used the drugs to induce mind-bending visions similar to those created by traditional shamans in South America.
Punters were, say police, charged up to EUR 100 a day to use kambo, an excretion of Amazon tree frogs said to be 40 times more powerful than morphine.
Police footage shows the house and what appears to be a richly decorated ritual room inside.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the Spanish civil guard on Wednesday, 11th January, saying: “The Civil Guard dismantled a spiritual retreat house where shamanic healing rituals were practised.”
They added: “At the time of the raid on the rural house in the municipality of Yecla (Murcia), the alleged shamans were giving an ayahuasca retreat to seven clients.”
The authorities said that two people were arrested, suspected of crimes involving animals and plants.
Police said they seized three kilogrammes (6.6 lbs) of cannabis, 14 litres of ayahuasca, three kilogrammes of snuff, a bottle of sananga, lollipops and sweets with San Pedro extract, San Pedro cacti and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Sananga is typically made from the roots and bark of the Tabernaemontana undulata plant, a shrub which is found in the Amazonian rainforest.
Its bark and roots are ground into a fine powder before being turned into a juice, considered sacred by tribes in the region.
It is traditionally used to treat eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, farsightedness, nearsightedness and even blindness.
It is also sometimes used to enhance the eyesight of people hunting at night.
San Pedro is understood to be a DIY version of the psychedelic drug mescaline.
The Civil Guard, carrying out the raid, dubbed “Operation Kambo”, arrested two people who were “engaged in attracting clients to practice supposed shamanic healing rituals”.
The police added: “The rural house they used as a spiritual retreat in the Murcian town of Yecla (Murcia) has been dismantled. There, a multitude of substances harmful to health have been seized.”
They said that the suspects were carrying out the healing rituals “without sanitary control” and that “they supplied to clients both national and from other European countries ayahuasca, snuff, sananga, extract of San Pedro or hallucinogenic mushrooms.”
Police said that the rituals were being marketed by two British nationals, who have not been named.
The cops said: “The shamanic rituals were offered by a couple of British citizens over the Internet with advertisements where they advertised themselves as a healing house oriented to self-development groups, shamanic retreats and addiction recovery and detoxification, among others.”
The Civil Guard said that prices started at EUR 45 per day for a minimum stay of three nights, with a group deal costing EUR 500 per day for 16 people.
The authorities released a statement that said: “The agents of the Civil Guard in the Region of Murcia searched with the corresponding judicial authorisation the country house located in the municipality of Yecla and found an ayahuasca retreat being held.
“One of the rooms of the house was furnished with seven bunks and two armchairs from where the shamans were directing the ritual and the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances by seven people of various nationalities.
“In the same room, blood pressure monitors were found ready to deal with any eventuality that might arise during the aforementioned spiritual practices.”
The police explained: “On the property, 14 litres of ayahuasca were seized, an indigenous drink used in traditional South American medicine by native peoples that, due to its psychoactive components, generates hallucinogenic effects.
“Also [seized was] a pot of sananga, an Amazonian eye drops to treat eye ailments, also used in certain ceremonies to increase spiritual perception.
“Three kilogrammes of marijuana, three kilogrammes of snuff, 29 pots of pipettes with marijuana extract, 44 lollipops and sweets with San Pedro extract, 304 San Pedro cacti and 200 grammes of hallucinogenic mushrooms were also seized.”
Explaining the meaning of ‘kambo’ in ‘Operation Kambo’, the cops said: “Agents from the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard also took part in the intervention, verifying that ceremonies with kambo had been offered in previous announcements on the website.
“This substance, obtained from the skin secretion of an Amazonian frog and with a high content of natural opiates, is 40 times more powerful than morphine and can cause a serious health risk.
“This activity with kambo was offered by the couple of shamans with an increase in the initial subscription cost of EUR 100 per person.”
The authorities said they also seized some protected species during the bust, saying: “On the farm, several goldfinch wings (a protected species) were also found, placed to be stuffed on some wooden planks, supposedly used for the ornamentation of some of the tools and supplies. Therefore, a crime against flora, fauna and domestic animals is attributed to them.”
The police added: “The detainees, a British couple including a 47-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman, together with the seized substances, were made available to Yecla Investigating Court number 1.”
The investigation is ongoing.