Pubdate: Thu, 11 Aug 2011
Source: Herald Express (UK)
Copyright: 2011, Herald Express Publications Ltd.


A MIDDLE-AGED Shaman from Buckfastleigh faces a possible jail term
after being convicted of producing and supplying a class A drug at a
healing ceremony.

Peter Aziz conjured up two brews of sacred drink from jungle plants
for religious rituals at a disused hotel, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Aziz said he didn't realise that one ingredient - the leaf of the
Chakruna plant - contained controlled the drug N-dimethyltriptamene or

The 51 year old denied two counts of producing a class A drug and two
counts of supplying a class A drug.

A jury found him guilty of all charges after two-and-a-half hours'

Judge Michael Roach bailed Aziz, pending sentence on September

Kate Brunner, prosecuting, said Aziz advertised a week of healing
ceremonies in Weston-super-Mare and 17 people attended.

She said he brought out a flagon of the brew. All the participants sat
around in a circle, candles were lit and he poured it into plastic or
paper cups.

"They drank it and when people drink this brew they frequently vomit,"
she said.

"Some participants had hallucinogenic experiences. Some felt it was
restorative, others felt it was terrifying."

Aziz told the jury he made a brew of Ayahuasca at his home in December
2007 which contained both a special vine and Chakruna leaf. When his
stock of the drink ran out, he brewed up another batch with the same
vine and leaf mix in a pot in the hotel kitchen.

Aziz conceded that, when interviewed by police, he first stated he
hadn't used DMT-containing Chakruna, he then said he used some and
finally said he only used Chakruna in his second brew at the hotel.

On further questioning in the witness box he said his third account
was probably correct, as he couldn't remember using Chakruna at his

Aziz said as far as he knew the substance DMT was 'everywhere', in
animal tissue as well as grass and chocolate.

He had taken Home Office advice about the legality of using it, and
had reduced its use in his ceremonies in order to avoid its
hallucinogenic effects.

He conceded that, on his internet website, he had written: "It's usual
to mix the Ayahuasca with Chakruna, a DMT-containing plant."
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.