Hallucinogen Kills US Teen in Peru

By McCarton Ackerman 09/13/12

A shaman is been charged with burying the boy's body after he died from eating "ayahuasca" during a ritual.

An Ayahuasca ceremony in Peru. Photo via

A shaman in Peru has been arrested after he confessed to burying the body of an American teenager who died after consuming a hallucinogenic brew during a ritual. The shaman, Jose Manuel Pinada, who refers to himself as "Maestro Mancoluto," leads spiritual retreats in Puerto Maldonado in the Madre de Dios jungle region, about 530 miles east from the capital city of Lima. Pinada informed authorities that 18-year-old Kyle Nolan died on August 22 after exceeding the dosage of a brew called ayahuasca, which is made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. Ayahuasca is the same psychoactive mixture that first beckoned writer William S. Burroughs to Peru in 1953, in search of "the ultimate fix." Nolan arrived in the region last August 17 and was declared missing on August 27 after he didn't return home. Two other men have also been arrested for allegedly helping Pineda bury the young man.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.