Kenneth Law, a 57-year-old man from Mississauga, Ontario, has been charged with 12 additional counts related to aiding and counselling suicide, bringing the total counts against him to 14. The Ontario police announced these charges on Tuesday, expanding the scope of what has become a complex international investigation.
Law is accused of running multiple websites since late 2020 that allegedly sold sodium nitrite and other hazardous items to individuals at risk of self-harm. Authorities believe he sent at least 1,200 packages to over 40 countries worldwide.
York Regional Police Insp. Simon James, overseeing the multi-jurisdictional investigation, stated, “Let us be clear: we will not tolerate criminal actions by those who prey on vulnerable individuals in our communities.” James continued, saying, “It’s a very difficult case for police to investigate but my heart goes out to the family members of those who we have lost.”
Law was initially arrested in May following an investigation by Peel Regional Police into two local deaths. Law allegedly operated at least five websites—most of which have now been taken offline—that offered sodium nitrite, masks, and hoods to individuals at risk of self-harm.
The charges unveiled on Tuesday relate to individuals aged 16 to 36, hailing from various communities across Ontario. Law is believed to have sent approximately 160 packages within Canada.
Last week, Britain’s National Crime Agency revealed they had identified 232 people in the U.K. who had purchased items from Canadian websites allegedly linked to Law. Authorities in the United States, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand have also initiated their own investigations.
In Canada, several police departments outside Ontario are reexamining previous sudden death cases due to the allegations against Law.
The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario is assisting the police in their ongoing investigation into Law. A spokesperson for the office stated that there have been at least 37 deaths attributed to sodium nitrite since 2019, with over 90% of them classified as suicides.
Health Canada said it “has been made aware of reports of people intentionally ingesting sodium nitrate or nitrite with the intent of self-harm and is taking action to address this concerning trend.”