Alleged sale of chemicals used for self harm leads to arrest of Mississauga man
Published May 2, 2023 at 8:44 pm
A Mississauga man has been arrested on suspicion of selling chemicals later used by the buyer to kill themselves.
Police announced the arrest of Kenneth Law, 57, on May 2 on two charges of counselling or aiding suicide. They had been investigating Law since March 31 after a sudden death caused by the consumption of chemicals.
Peel Police Deputy Chief Marc Andrews confirmed police identified two victims so far.
Investigators believe Law marketed and sold the chemical sodium nitrite online targeting people at risk of self-harm. Sodium nitrite is a white, crystalline substance used in very low doses to speed up the curing of meats. It also gives the meat a pink colour. The chemical can be sold online, however, it’s links to suicide have been known for years. eBay will not allow sales and Amazon faced a lawsuit for pairing sodium nitrite and a suicide how-to book in their “frequently bought together” box.
However, in higher doses sodium nitrite is highly toxic and is frequently used as a suicide method. The chemical can reduce oxygen levels, impair breathing and ultimately cause death. Police believe Law sold sodium nitrite under several brands including;
- Imtime Cuisine
- Escape Mode/ escMode
They advised residents to be vigilant if any of their loved ones received such a package and to contact the police if they have. “Peel Regional Police would also like to appeal to the community to be vigilant of the online transactions and activity or the arrival of deliveries from the above-noted companies,” they said.
Law has previously been linked to suicide deaths in the United Kingdom. The Times of London ran a story a couple of weeks prior to Law’s arrest alleging one of their reporters purchased sodium nitrite from him. The story continued to link Law to seven such deaths in the UK, ten per cent of 70 deaths linked to sodium nitrite consumption there.
However, Andrews could not comment on any ongoing British investigation. He did confirm there have been 1,200 shipments to over 40 countries though could not “categorically confirm” all of them contained sodium nitrite.
After the Peel police announcement, the OPP confirmed packages of sodium nitrite may have been sent out across Ontario. They believe it may have gone out to a dozen communities across the province and many more globally.
Andrews confirmed Peel investigators are working with their counterparts on the provincial, national, and international levels since they believe their may be more victims. “The mental health and well-being of out community is our main priority,” Andrews continued, “as such we will not tolerate criminal actions by those who prey on vulnerable individuals in our community.”
While the OPP echoed the Peel police concerns, the matter remains a Peel police investigation. Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation can call them at 1-888-714-0003 or email 11 Division.
Law will appear in court on May 3.
“If you or anyone that you know is struggling with mental health and wellness,” police said, “please call 1-833-456-4566 or visit TalkSuicide.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising