A French-Canadian woman who sent letters containing ricin in September 2020, to then-President Donald J. Trump at the White House and to eight Texas State law enforcement officials, was sentenced to almost 22 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, a dual citizen of Canada and France, was sentenced on Thursday, August 17, 2023, to 262 months in prison for sending those threatening letters containing homemade ricin.
According to court documents, the letter containing homemade ricin, a toxic substance that is 6,000 times more deadly than cyanide was detected by the US Secret Service at 9 a.m. last Friday. in the White House mail sorting room.
Ricin is very toxic if inhaled, injected, or ingested. It can also be toxic if dust contacts the eyes or if it is absorbed through damaged skin. A lethal oral dose in humans is estimated to be approximately 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ricin can be used as a weapon. It can be turned into a mist and inhaled or it may be consumed in poisoned food or from a tainted water supply and it may be injected with a hypodermic needle.
Authorities say the Canadian resident from France could have been radicalized by frequenting different groups on social networks.
The Ottawa division of the integrated national security team, which ran the Canadian portion of the investigation, in collaboration with the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also believes that she could have mental health problems.
Ferrier’s home in Longueuil, a city in the province of Quebec, Canada, was raided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Ferrier pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to prohibitions with respect to biological weapons in two separate criminal cases.
One case was brought in the District of Columbia, and the other was brought in the Southern District of Texas and transferred to the District of Columbia for purposes of plea and sentencing.
According to court documents, Ferrier admitted that she made ricin at her residence in Quebec, Canada, in September 2020. Ricin is a deadly poison made from castor beans. Ferrier placed the ricin toxin in envelopes containing letters she wrote to then-President Trump at the White House and to eight Texas State law enforcement officials.
Ferrier had been detained in the State of Texas for approximately 10 weeks in the spring of 2019, and she believed that the law enforcement officials were connected to her period of detention.
In early September 2020, Ferrier used the Twitter social media service to propose that someone should “please shoot [T]rump in the face.” The letters in the envelopes contained threatening language, and the letter addressed to then-President Trump instructed him to “[g]ive up and remove [his] application for this election.”
Ferrier mailed each of the threatening ricin letters from Canada to the United States.
Ferrier then drove a car from Canada to the Peace Bridge Border Crossing in Buffalo, New York, on Sept. 20, 2020, where border patrol officials found her in possession of a loaded firearm, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and other weapons, and arrested her.
Two days after her letter was received at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Ferrier allegedly told the customs officer, “I am wanted by the FBI for the letters. with ricin” as she attempted to cross the border.
Ferrier has remained in custody since that time.