26 January 2023
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — A dual Canadian and France citizen pleaded guilty Wednesday to mailing deadly ricin to then-President Donald Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials, authorities announced.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, pleaded guilty to charges of prohibitions with respect to biological weapons, federal records show. Ferrier, of Quebec, is expected to be sentenced to 262 months in prison.
Prosecutors said Ferrier made the ricin, a potentially deadly poison derived from processing castor beans, then mailed it to Trump with a letter that referred to him as “The Ugly Tyrant Clown” and read in part: “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. Enjoy! FREE REBEL SPIRIT.”
She was arrested trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, New York, carrying a gun, a knife and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, authorities said. Her lawyers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the plea.
The notes created “fear and stress,” even though they didn’t succeed in poisoning their targets, said Alamdar Hamdani, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas.
The investigation also turned up eight letters to Texas officials affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019. According to a federal indictment, letters were sent to two county sheriffs, a police chief, three officers at an adult detention center, the warden of a detention center, and the deputy warden of a separate detention facility.
Letters to these officials contained a segment of the same message that was sent to Trump. The notes created “fear and stress,” even though they didn’t succeed in poisoning their targets, said Alamdar Hamdani, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas.
Nexstar’s KVEO spoke with Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. Guerra, who received one of the letters, following the news of Ferrier’s plea agreement and sentence.
“It sends a strong message to those that would consider doing this, especially to the President of the United States, much less a sheriff or chief of police,” Guerra said. “There’s a lot of technology out there available for us to investigate. We’re going to be able to find you and we’re going to seek the maximum possible punishment.”
Ferrier is scheduled to be sentenced in April, records show.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.