14 murder charges laid against Mississauga man accused of selling lethal drug online

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Published December 12, 2023 at 11:30 am

14 second-degree murder charges laid against Kenneth Law, of Mississauga
York Regional Police Insp. Simon James, who heads up a multi-police agency task force, speaks at a press conference at Peel police headquarters in Mississauga, where police revealed a Mississauga man is now facing 14 charges of second-degree murder.

A Mississauga man accused of selling a lethal substance online to people at risk of self-harm and suicide has had 14 charges of second-degree murder laid against him, the head of a police task force revealed this morning.

The murder charges against Kenneth Law, 58, were announced at a press conference at Peel Regional Police headquarters in Mississauga and represent a stark development in the multi-jurisdictional and “complex” police investigation that prior to today had laid 14 counselling or aiding suicide charges against the man.

York Regional Police Insp. Simon James, who heads up the 11-police force team of investigators that also includes Peel police and OPP among others, told the media today that the 14 second-degree murder charges are in addition to the previous charges and are related to the same 14 victims in Ontario.

Three of the victims were from Peel, four from Toronto, three from York and one each from Durham, London, Thunder Bay and Waterloo, according to police.

James said the victims are both male and female and range in age from 16 to 36, including “more than one” under age 18.

Law was initially charged earlier this year with two counts of counselling or aiding suicide in relation to victims in Peel. In late August, the Mississauga man was charged with 12 additional counts of the same offence.

James didn’t say if more charges or more victims are in the offing in Ontario, but did note that Law is also being investigated by police across Canada and in as many as 40 other countries around the globe for similar alleged incidents of online drug sales leading to deaths.

He added that the Ontario task force is “cooperating and collaborating daily” with police in other parts of Canada and around the world including the FBI in the U.S. and Scotland Yard in England, among others.

Police say Law remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear in Newmarket court on Dec. 19.

Kenneth Law, 58, of Mississauga.

In what police described as a “very active and complex investigation,” which began back in May with the sudden death of a person in Peel, police agencies across Ontario, Canada and the world are looking into numerous deaths that may be connected to several online companies that allegedly sold the lethal drug online.

Law is accused of using several websites to market and sell sodium nitrite, a substance commonly used to cure meats that can be deadly if ingested.

James said on Tuesday it’s believed that more than 1,200 packages of the potentially deadly drug were sent out around the world and about 160 in Canada.

He added that police have seized a quantity of sodium nitrite as part of the investigation.

Earlier in August, authorities in England revealed they’re investigating the deaths of 88 people in the U.K. who bought products from Canadian-based websites allegedly offering lethal substances to those at risk of harming themselves.

Authorities in the United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand also have launched investigations.

Earlier this summer, Peel police issued a public safety announcement related to the investigation, specifically about the online sale of sodium nitrite and masks.

Police said again this week that if anyone receives a package they suspect may contain the substance, they are to call police immediately.

“We ask that the public be cautious and vigilant of online activities,” an earlier police advisory read, noting payment or transactions related to the following companies should be deemed suspicious, and reported to police:

  • Imtime Cuisine
  • AmbuCA
  • Academic/ACademic
  • Escape Mode/escMode
  • ICemac

James repeated that warning in relation to the same companies at today’s press conference.

He added police are aware of various online drug sale websites that continue to operate and are being looked at as part of the sweeping police probe, “but a number of these sites are in other countries where Canadian laws (don’t necessarily apply).

“And that’s one of the biggest challenges.”

As far as a possible motive for the deaths goes, James would only say that “we’re looking at that very closely.”

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