TORONTO (AP) — Canadian police said Tuesday they are charging a man with 12 additional counts of counseling and aiding suicide for allegedly selling lethal substances on the internet to people at risk of self harm.
An international investigation is underway following the arrest in Canada earlier this year of Kenneth Law, who was initially charged with two counts of counseling and aiding suicide. Canadian police say Law, from the Toronto area, used a series of websites to market and sell sodium nitrite, a substance commonly used to cure meats that can be deadly if ingested.
British police on Friday they are investigating the deaths of 88 people in the U.K. linked to the websites.
Canadian police say Law is suspected of sending at least 1,200 packages to more than 40 countries. Authorities in the United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand also have launched investigations.
The 12 new charges against Law are related to cases in Ontario, where the 57-year-old now faces 14 charges. York Regional Police Insp. Simon James said the victims are from across the Canadian province and range in age from 16 to 36.
“We are aware of police investigations going on in jurisdictions outside the province of Ontario, and we are cooperating and sharing information with law enforcement on a global scale,” James said.
Britain’s National Crime Agency said it has identified 232 people in the U.K. who bought products from the websites in the two years up to April, 88 of whom died. The agency said it was investigating whether any crimes had been committed in the U.K
James, the Ontario officer, said a joint task force is investigating the Ontario cases and it includes 11 police jurisdictions in the Canadian province.
It is against the law in Canada for someone to recommend suicide, although assisted suicide has been legal since 2016 for people aged at least 18. Any adult with a serious illness, disease or disability may seek help in dying, but they must ask for that assistance from a physician.
EDITORS NOTE — This story includes discussion of suicide. The U.S. suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org. In the U.K., the Samaritans can be reached at 116 123 or www.samaritans.org.