Woman pleads guilty to sending ricin to President Trump in 2020

A French-Canadian woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to sending ricin-threatening letters to President Donald Trump to the White House and eight Texas law enforcement officials in September 2020, the Justice Department announced.

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, admitted that she made the ricin at her home in Quebec and shipped the potentially deadly poison from Canada to the recipients, before driving to the Peace Bridge border crossing into the United States in Buffalo, where she was arrested on weapons charges. on September 20, 2020.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Tyrant Ugly Clown,’” Ferrier wrote in his letter to Trump. The letter was received at an outside facility near Washington, where mail addressed to the White House is prescreened and tested for hazardous substances, according to the FBI.

Ferrier, a computer programmer, admitted in plea documents that she instructed Trump to “[g]get up and take off [his] petition for this election,” after tweeting earlier that month “#killTrump” and proposing that someone should “shoot please [T]rump in the face.”

“I made a special gift for you to make up your mind,” her letter read, according to the FBI. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find a better recipe for another poison, or I could use my weapon when I can go. Enjoy! FREE REBEL SPIRIT.”

Envelope addressed to Trump tested positive for ricin, officials say

Ferrier believed her targets in Texas were related to her detention for approximately 10 weeks in the spring of 2019 after police arrested her in Mission, Texas, on a weapons possession charge and later transferred her to immigration authorities in Texas. USA, prosecutors said.

The FBI said it matched Ferrier’s fingerprints to those found on several of the letters, saying they were addressed to people who worked at penitentiaries and detention centers where she had been detained. The letters contained similar references to a “special gift for you” and included “FREE REBEL SPIRIT” in the signature block, the FBI said.

Ferrier has been awaiting trial since her arrest in Buffalo, where Border Patrol officers found her with a loaded firearm strapped to her waistband, hundreds of ammunition and other weapons.

Ferrier pleaded guilty to two counts of violating federal prohibitions regarding biological weapons punishable by up to life in prison. In a plea agreement, Ferrier agreed to a prison term of 262 months at sentencing, which is set for April 26 before US District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in Washington.

“There is no place for political violence in our country, and there is no excuse to threaten public officials or endanger our public servants,” said US Attorney Matthew M. Graves of Washington, announcing the arrest with his counterpart. of Houston, United States Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. and officials from the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Ricin can be made from castor beans, but its effectiveness as a poison depends on how carefully it is processed, with low concentration batches posing no harm.

In 2013, a Mississippi man sent a ricin-laced letter to President Barack Obama in a bizarre plot to frame an Elvis impersonator with whom he was feuding. That year, a Texas actress sent ricin-laced letters to officials like Obama and then-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and tried to pin the blame on her husband.

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