Canadian police have arrested a suspect from the Toronto area accused of using websites to market and sell sodium nitrite around the world.
Police are investigating the deaths of 88 people in the United Kingdom who allegedly bought substances to assist with suicide from Canadian websites.
The probe is part of international inquiries sparked by the arrest in Canada this year of Kenneth Law, who has been charged with two counts of counseling and aiding suicide.
“The NCA [National Crime Agency] has taken the decision to conduct an investigation into potential criminal offences committed in the UK. This operation is under way,” NCA Deputy Director Craig Turner said on Friday.
“At this early stage, there are no confirmed links between the items purchased from the websites and cause of death in any of these cases.”
Canadian police say Law, who is 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.
Police said 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 NCA said it identified 232 people in the UK who bought products from the websites over two years until April and 88 of them died.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of those who have died. They are being supported by specially trained officers from police forces,” Turner said.