'Shaman' Peter Aziz jailed over psychedelic drug drink
A self-styled shaman who brewed a drink containing a Class A drug for ritual healing ceremonies has been jailed for 15 months.
Peter Aziz, 51, from Buckfast in Devon, supplied a concoction made from a jungle plant which contains the psychedelic compound DMT.
Aziz, who claimed the drink could help fight illnesses such as cancer, was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court.
He was convicted in a trial believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Aziz was found guilty producing the Class A drug DMT and two counts of supplying.
He claimed to have taken Home Office advice about the legality of using the drug but was arrested after being exposed in a BBC Inside Out West television programme in which an undercover GP posed as a patient seeking a treatment for cancer.
Aziz was filmed secretly at a disused hotel in Weston-super-Mare in 2007. He took £100 each from 20 people who then drank the herbal mixture.
Passing sentence, Judge Michael Roach said: "You knew it was wrong to supply DMT, you knew it was wrong to make DMT, but you did it anyway."
The judge said he had reduced the sentence after hearing that Aziz had "wholeheartedly done a lot of good for a lot of people".
"But that said, there is no doubt in my mind that I have to treat this matter as serious, which means they require a prison sentence," he added.
The GP who went undercover, Dr Charles Shepherd, from Chalford in Gloucestershire, welcomed the outcome of the trial.
"It's a serious matter... offering to treat people with cancer, producing a drug which had really quite potent properties to it.
"We witnessed people vomiting into buckets having quite serious hallucinations.
"If this drug had been given to someone who was weakened through cancer it could have made them seriously ill."
Speaking after the trial, Det Ch Insp Phillip Jones, from Avon and Somerset Police, said DMT was a "dangerous drug" and a "Class A drug for a reason".
"It's in the same category as heroin and cocaine," he said.
"We've worked closely with the drug strategy unit at the Home Office and I'm hoping that they'll publicise nationally and raise awareness of the problems and health concerns with DMT."