A Canadian woman was charged in federal court with allegedly sending a letter containing deadly ricin poison to President Donald Trump.
Quebec’s Pascale Ferrier was arrested Sunday at a border crossing in Buffalo, New York. Officials say she was carrying a gun.
She pleaded not guilty to threatening the president.
The letter she allegedly sent last week was discovered before it reached the White House.
In it, she urged Mr. Trump to get out of the race of the US President. The shell contained ricin, a poison that occurs naturally in castor beans.
“I came up with a new name for you: ̵
“I hope you like it. You are ruining the US and leading it to disaster. I have US cousins, then I don’t want to be president with you for the next 4 years. Give up and remove your motion for this election.”
The letter, which, according to the FBI, showed her fingerprints, labeled the poisoned note a “special gift,” adding, “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find a better recipe for a different poison, or I’ll use my gun if I come can. “
The suspect may also have sent ricin to five addresses in Texas, including a prison and a sheriff’s office.
According to local media, Ms. Ferrier appeared in court in Buffalo, New York, Tuesday afternoon with the help of a French-speaking translator.
She asked for a court-appointed defense attorney during the hearing. This attorney also requested an identity and probable reason hearing for the court to determine that it was the person named in the complaint.
The judge has scheduled these next hearings for September 28th. She will be in the custody of the U.S. Marshals until then as prosecutors have argued that she poses a flight risk.
Who is Pascale Ferrier?
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, is a computer programmer originally from France, but became a Canadian citizen in 2015, according to Canadian media. Sources tell Reuters that she will retain dual French-Canadian citizenship. She lived in the Canadian province of Quebec.
In March 2019, she was arrested in Texas for illegally carrying a gun and using a fake driver’s license. According to the New York Times, she was deported to Canada after officials found she exceeded her visa and committed a crime in the United States.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package that was discovered in a mail processing facility for mail sent to the White House.
The presence of ricin was confirmed after several tests by the FBI, the authorities said.
A spokesman for the Texas Mission’s Police Department told the Associated Press Monday that an envelope was in the care of local officials and no one was injured.
Another Texas sheriff, Eddie Guerra of Hidalgo County, also confirmed that envelopes containing ricin had been sent to staff there, but did not report any injuries.
On Monday, the RCMP department in Quebec searched an apartment in Saint-Hubert, a suburb of Montreal, which authorities said is linked to the suspect.
Mark Morgan, a senior US Customs and Border Protection official, said Tuesday that Ms. Ferrier told border officials “she was wanted by the FBI for sending envelopes containing ricin to the White House and other locations” when she turned up on Sunday approached the checkpoint.
The officers found a gun, knife and ammunition in her car at the time of her arrest.
What is ricin?
Ricin is a deadly substance that, if swallowed, inhaled, or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, and ultimately organ failure.
There is no known antidote for ricin. When a person is exposed to ricin, death can occur within 36 to 72 hours, depending on the dose received, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said the poison – which has been used in terrorist attacks – can be made into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist or pellet.
The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin parcels in the past.
In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sending ricin-dusted letters to former President Barack Obama and other officials.
Television actress Shannon Richardson, who appeared on The Walking Dead, was jailed for 18 years in 2014 for sending ricin to Mr. Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Four years later, in 2018, a former Navy veteran was accused of sending toxic letters to the Pentagon and the White House.