Porn star Nacho Vidal held in Spain after man dies in toad-venom ritual

(BBC) – A Spanish porn actor is being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter after a photographer died during a toad-venom ritual, police say.

Nacho Vidal, 46, and two others were briefly detained last Friday over the death.

Spanish police said the photographer died after inhaling the poison of an endangered North American toad.

The “mystic ritual” reportedly took place at Mr Vidal’s home near the southern city of Valencia last July.

A lawyer for Mr Vidal said his client “considers himself to be innocent”, describing the death as an unfortunate accident.

The photographer, named Jose Luis Abad by Spanish media, used a pipe to inhale the substance, which is secreted from the glands of the bufo alvarius.

The toad, also known as the Colorado River toad, uses the powerful toxin to defend itself against predators in Mexico and south-western US states, where it is found in the Sonoran Desert.

Known by chemists as 5-MeO-DMT, the natural substance is said to induce an intense psychedelic state when consumed by users, earning it the nickname the God molecule.

A study from 2019 suggested the substance may have therapeutic properties, such as easing anxiety and depression, but acknowledged there was a limited understanding of its effects in humans.