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Foreign National Sentenced to Over 21 Years for Mailing Ricin to President of the United States in 2020

August 17, 2023
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Defendant Also Mailed Threatening Ricin Letters to Texas Law Enforcement Officials

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, a dual citizen of Canada and France, was sentenced today to 262 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for sending threatening letters, containing homemade ricin (a toxin), in September 2020, to then-President Donald J. Trump at the White House, and to eight Texas State law enforcement officials.

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. Ferrier has remained in custody.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia and Assistant Director Susan Ferensic of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate made the announcement.

The FBI Washington and San Antonio Field Offices investigated the case. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Friedman for the District of Columbia; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rob Jones, David Coronado and David Lindenmuth for the Southern District of Texas; and Trial Attorney David Smith of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.

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