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In rare move, Sault Police lay manslaughter charge in fatal overdose

'This sends a strong message to the people profiting off poison in our community,' chief says after alleged fentanyl trafficker charged in connection with death last March
2020-08-04 City Police Stock BC
Sault Ste. Marie Police file photo. Brad Coccimiglio/SooToday

Sault Police have laid a manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal fentanyl overdose — a rare move that attempts to hold a dealer responsible for a drug user’s death.

In a news release issued this morning, Chief Hugh Stevenson said this is the first time since he took over as city police chief in 2018 that “we have the evidence to lay a manslaughter charge in a drug investigation.”

“This sends a strong message to the people profiting off poison in our community,” Stevenson said in the release. “In this case, a life was taken. This criminality cannot continue. We will investigate thoroughly and use the fullest extent of the law to bring cases before the courts.”

The charge relates to a fatal overdose that occurred on the evening of March 7, 2023 in the 200 block of Bruce Street. 

Forensic analysis determined that the unnamed victim died of fentanyl and ethanol intoxication. Police say they were able to link the drugs to a specific dealer.

Henry Cadreau, 41, was located and arrested on Feb. 8. He is charged with manslaughter and trafficking in a schedule I substance.

He is being held in custody pending a bail hearing.

None of the allegations have been tested in court and Cadreau is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Simply put, manslaughter is a homicide committed without the intention to cause death. 

Although it is rare, other police services have charged fentanyl traffickers with manslaughter in cases of fatal overdoses. 

Winnipeg Police, for example, charged two parents with manslaughter earlier this week after their one-year-old daughter died from fentanyl intoxication.