A Canadian woman has been charged by the US federal court for allegedly sending a letter with deadly ricin poison to President Donald Trump.
Pascale Ferrier, from Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the border crossing in Buffalo, New York. Officials say he had a gun.
She pleaded not guilty to threats against the president.
The letter he would send last week was uncovered before it reached the White House.
In it, he called on Mr. Trump to withdraw from the US presidential race. The bag contained ricin, a poison that occurs naturally in castor beans.
“I have found a new name for you: ̵
“I hope you like it. You ruin the United States and lead it to disaster. I have American cousins, so I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election.”
The letter, which the FBI said had his fingerprints, referred to the poisoned note as “a special gift,” adding, “If that doesn’t work, I’ll find a better recipe for another poison, or I could use mine when I can come. . “
The suspect may also have sent ricin to five addresses in Texas, including a prison and a sheriff’s office, according to court documents.
Ms. Ferrier appeared in court Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, New York, with the help of a French-speaking translator, according to local media.
He asked for a court-appointed defense attorney at the hearing. That lawyer also requested an identity and a hearing for a probable cause, to get the court to determine that you are the person named in the complaint.
The judge has set the next hearings for September 28th. It will be in the custody of US marshals until then, as prosecutors have said it poses a risk of escape.
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 he retains dual French-Canadian citizenship. He lived in the Canadian province of Quebec.
In March 2019, she was arrested in Texas for illegally carrying a weapon and using a fake driver’s license, according to prison records. According to the New York Times, she was deported to Canada after officials found she had stayed over her visa and committed a crime while in the United States.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package, which was discovered in a processing center for mail sent to the White House.
The presence of ricin was confirmed after several tests by the FBI, authorities said.
A spokesman for the Mission, Texas 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 in Hidalgo County, also confirmed that the ricin bags had been sent to staff there, but he was not injured.
On Monday, the RCMP division in Quebec raided a residence in Montreal’s Saint-Hubert suburb, which authorities said was linked to the suspect.
Senior US Customs and Border Protection Officer Mark Morgan said Tuesday that Ms. Ferrier had told border officers “she was wanted by the FBI for shipping ricin envelopes to the White House and other locations” when approached the checkpoint on Sunday.
Officers found a gun, knife and ammunition in his car at the time of his arrest.
What is ricin?
Ricin is a lethal substance that, when ingested, inhaled or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, and eventually organ failure.
There is no known antidote for ricin. If 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 plots – can be turned into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist, or ball.
The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin packages 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.
TV actress Shannon Richardson, featured on The Walking Dead, was jailed for 18 years in 2014 for sending ricin to Obama and former New York 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.