June 12, 2024

Police in Canada have opened an investigation into “suicide kits” allegedly mailed to people in the Montreal, Quebec, by a man already facing more than a dozen criminal charges.

Montreal police said they believe Kenneth Law, 57, mailed packages containing a lethal substance to people at risk of suicide in the city. The police asked residents to exercise “vigilance” as the investigation advances.

Related: NCA investigating 88 UK deaths linked to Canadian ‘poison seller’

Law, who was first arrested in May, is facing 14 charges in connection with deaths in the neighbouring province of Ontario, where the victims range in age from 16 to 36.

“Advising, encouraging or helping a person to kill themselves is an offence under the criminal code and is punishable by imprisonment,” the Montreal police said in a statement, adding it was “calling for vigilance”.

Canada’s criminal code punishes anyone who “counsels or abets” a person to die by suicide with a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.

Last month, the UK’s National Crime Agency announced it was conducting an investigation into potential crimes allegedly committed by Law after it linked him to 88 deaths in Britain.

Police say packages allegedly shipped to Montreal may have the following company names on the label: Academic/ACademic, Escape Mode/escMode, Imtime Cuisine, AmbuCA and ICemac.

Police in Ontario said they believe 160 of the 1,200 packages allegedly mailed by Law were sent to Canadian addresses, but cautioned the figure was “approximate”. The investigation spans 11 police jurisdictions in Ontario. Two cities in the province of Saskatchewan are each investigating a death that officials believe could be linked to the toxic substance allegedly mailed by Law. The city of Calgary is investigating two deaths and a division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia says it is revisiting six deaths.

In total, Law is alleged to be linked to more than 100 deaths.

A former aerospace engineer working at a high-end hotel kitchen, Law was arrested and charged after admitting to an undercover reporter that “many, many, many, many” people had died after taking the substances he sold online.

Law, who has denied reports that he was willingly selling products to help people die by suicide, appeared again in court on Friday for a bail hearing as prosectors attempt to bring all cases to a single court location.

• In Canada, Crisis Services Canada can be contacted at any time on 1.833.456.4566, or via text on 45645 from 4pm-12am ET. In the US, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988, chat on 988lifeline.org, or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org

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