A SPIRITUAL retreat altered into a crime scene as Peruvian authorities descended on an Amazonian site where a 26-year-old British man was killed during a therapeutic ceremony.
Canadian Joshua Stevens in custody after stabbing Unais Gomes in what witnesses described as self-defence after Gomes suffered a bad reaction to the hallucinogenic plant brew Ayahuasca and reportedly came after the 29-year-old with a knife.
The ceremony occurred near the iconic jungle city of Iquitos, in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, on the evening of December 17 at the alternative health centre Phoenix Ayahuasca. An anonymous source stated that Gomes sourced a knife from the centre’s kitchen and used it to attack Stevens, in the ensuing struggle Gomes was stabbed in the chest and stomach.
Ayahuasca is a potent concoction that combines an Amazonian vine and other plants to produce dimethyltryptamine (DMT) which is a powerful psychedelic used for millennia by shamans and tribes across the rainforest.
Often used by western tourists due to its growing medical reputation as a means of combating depression and healing psychological wounds, Ayahuasca is not typically associated with violence, although results can be unpredictable.
Ayahuasca tourism to Peru, and Iquitos in particular, has seen a range of jungle retreats offering a safe means of taking the brew under controlled conditions.