Woman charged with sending ricin to the White House pleads not guilty, will be held without bail

A woman charged with making threats against President Trump by mailing a package containing ricin to the White House was ordered held without bail Monday by a judge in Buffalo who cited “a very strong case” against her based on an indictment in Washington, D.C.

Pascale Ferrier, 53, of a Montreal suburb, was arrested a week ago as she tried to enter the U.S. through a border crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. cited a long history of assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents since the killing of President Abraham Lincoln in finding that Ferrier was an ongoing threat to the president and others.

He also read from a letter that prosecutors allege Ferrier wrote to Trump and included in the ricin-laden container, in which she allegedly threatened to find a more dangerous poison or to use her gun to stop him from his presidential campaign.

“It would appear to me the government has a very strong case, especially assuming the legal validity of the alleged admissions at the time of her arrest,” Schroeder said of the woman, who has French and Canadian citizenship.

He ordered her transfer to Washington to face the one-count indictment.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail sorting facility on September 18. No one was harmed.

Besides the letter’s threats was a command to Trump to “give up and remove our application for this election,” authorities said.

The FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas a few days earlier, according to a criminal complaint.

Her lawyer, Fonda Dawn Kubiak, argued that she should be granted bail. “As Ms. Ferrier sits here today, she is presumed innocent,” Kubiak said.

She called her client “highly educated” with the equivalent of a master’s degree in engineering in France and who was employed by an aircraft engineering company.

Kubiak said Ferrier could reside with her son in Quebec or possibly with family members in Texas.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said Ferrier was trying to enter the United States last week when an officer approached and asked if she was OK. “No, I’m wanted by the FBI for the ricin envelope,” he quoted her as responding.

He said authorities handcuffed her and searched her vehicle, in which they found a semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, nearly 300 rounds of other ammunition, pepper spray, a knife and a stun gun.

“She was loaded for bear, Judge,” the prosecutor said.

He said that ricin had been located at her apartment outside Montreal and that she was likely to face additional charges in Washington, Texas and Buffalo.

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Canadian woman suspected of sending White House a ricin package pleads not guilty

A Canadian woman suspected of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House last week appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where she pleaded not guilty.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border on a charge of threatening the president. Her court appearance was brief and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff's Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 
(Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, via AP)

Ferrier, who wore a tan jail jumpsuit, had her hands in cuffs and a chain around her waist. A blue mask covered much of her face as she spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions.

Through an interpreter and her attorney, she also asked for an identity hearing — which would compel the government to prove that she is indeed the person for whom the arrest warrant was issued — and a probable cause hearing for the government to prove there is sufficient cause to proceed in the case. The judge ordered her held without bail.

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Her attorney, Fonda Kubiak, said Ferrier was exercising her rights to those hearings, which were scheduled for Monday.

“She has a presumption of innocence and that’ll be pursued further after today,” Kubiak said outside the courthouse.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 
(The Canadian Press via AP)

The package, postmarked from Canada and addressed to the White House, was sent sometime last week and intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. It included a letter that included disparaging remarks about the president, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said. In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote threatening messages against the president and used similar wording as she did in the letter, according to the document.

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When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019

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Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court Tues

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Here’s the latest for Monday September 21st: Trump says he’ll pick new Supreme Court justice soon; Ricin suspect arrested on US-Canada border; Tropical Storm Beta lashes Texas coast; National Cathedral tolls bell for coronavirus victims.

AP Domestic

A woman suspected of mailing a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is now expected to appear in a New York court Tuesday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter is believed to have been mailed from Canada.

An earlier court appearance, originally scheduled for Monday, is now set to take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

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Pascale Ferrier: White House ricin package suspect in court

Pascale FerrierImage copyright
Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office

A Canadian woman has been charged in US federal court for allegedly posting a letter with deadly ricin poison to President Donald Trump.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested at a border crossing in Buffalo, New York, on Sunday. Officials say she was carrying a gun.

She has pleaded not guilty to making threats against the president.

The letter she allegedly sent last week was discovered before it reached the White House.

In it, she called on Mr Trump to drop out of the US presidential race. The envelop contained ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’,” she wrote in the letter to Mr Trump, according to FBI charging documents filed ahead of her first court appearance in New York on Tuesday.

“I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have US cousins, then 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 says had her fingerprints on it, referred to the poisoned note as “a special gift”, adding: “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. “

The suspect may have also sent ricin to five addresses in Texas, including a jail and a sheriff’s office, according to the court documents.

Ms Ferrier appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, New York, with the aid of a French-speaking translator, according to local media.

She asked for a court appointed defence lawyer during the hearing. That lawyer also requested an identity and probable cause hearing, to have the court determine that she is the individual named in the complaint.

The judge scheduled these next hearings for 28 September. She will be in the custody of the US Marshals until that time, as prosecutors argued she poses a flight risk.

Who is Pascale Ferrier?

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, is a computer programmer who is originally from France, but became a Canadian citizen in 2015, according to Canadian media. Sources tell Reuters she retains dual French-Canadian citizenship. She was living in the Canadian province of Quebec.

In March 2019, she was arrested in Texas for unlawfully carrying a weapon and using a fake driver’s licence, according to jail records. She was deported to Canada after officials found she had overstayed her visa and committed a crime while in the US, according to the New York Times.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package, which was discovered at a processing facility 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 on Monday an envelope was in the care of local officials and no-one had been

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Woman accused of sending ricin letter to White House charged with making threats against the president

A letter sent to the White House containing the toxic powder ricin has been traced back to Pascale Ferrier, a woman who was arrested on Sunday while trying to cross the U.S. border from Canada, authorities said Tuesday. Ferrier has been charged with making threats against the president of the United States. 

At her initial court appearance in Buffalo on Tuesday, Ferrier asked the court to appoint a federal defender, which will be paid for by American taxpayers. That defender requested an identity hearing, in which the court would determine that she is in fact the person named in the criminal complaint and the arrest warrant, as well as a probable cause hearing. 

Ferrier’s next hearings, which will include the identity and probable cause hearing, were scheduled for September 28. She was returned to the custody of U.S. Marshals. 

Court documents released Tuesday detail how on Friday, the U.S. Secret Service flagged the letter postmarked from Canada to the FBI. The FBI found that it “contained a white, powdery material,” which was later confirmed to be ricin.

The letter also contained a note Ferrier allegedly wrote to the president, calling him “The Ugly Tyrant Clown”  and claiming he, “…ruin[ed] USA and lead them to disaster,” according to the documents.

“I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election,” Ferrier allegedly wrote to Mr. Trump. “So I made a “Special Gift” for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter. 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!”

The affidavit claims that Ferrier made similar negative comments about the President on her social media accounts.

pascale-ferrier.jpg
A mug shot of Pascale Ferrier

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office


Law enforcement officials said they learned during the toxin screening that six additional letters sent from Canada had been turned over to FBI field offices in Texas earlier in the week. Those letters were allegedly addressed to individuals employed at penitentiaries and detention centers in the state. The letters also allegedly contained a powdery substance, had matching language, and were similarly signed “FREE REBEL SPIRIT.” Law enforcement officials said they were also able to identify her fingerprints on four of the letters in San Antonio.

Ferrier was previously arrested in March 2019 by the Mission Police in Texas for weapons possession and was transferred into ICE custody. According to court documents, the letters sent to Texas were addressed to individuals that worked at facilities at which she was held during her detention in 2019.

When Ferrier was arrested Sunday while trying to enter the U.S. from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, she allegedly told CBP officers she was “…wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters” and had a gun and a knife in her possession.

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Court Papers: Woman Wrote ‘Give Up’ in Ricin Note to Trump | Texas News

By MICHAEL BALSAMO and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Canadian woman accused of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House included a threatening letter in which she told President Donald Trump to “give up and remove your application for this election,” according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border and is due to make her first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Buffalo, New York. She faces a charge of threatening the president.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. The package, postmarked from Canada, included a letter in which she referred to Trump as “The Ugly Tyrant Clown” and directed him to “give up and remove your application for this election,” according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

“So I made a ‘special gift’ for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter,” she wrote, according to the affidavit. “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.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if Ferrier had a lawyer.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said.

In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote “#killTrump” and used similar wording as she did in the letter, calling him an “Ugly Clown Tyrant,” according to the document.

When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019 on two charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon and one charge of tampering with government records, according to online jail records. Pascale is listed as living in Quebec, and was released in May of last year. The records state the charges against her were ordered dismissed.

Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Woman arrested for allegedly sending envelope containing ricin to White House

A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border. The woman is also suspected of sending similar poisoned envelopes to law enforcement agencies in Texas, officials said Monday.

The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

CBS News has also learned that the woman was carrying a gun when she was arrested.

Her name was not immediately released, but the woman was expected to appear in federal court in Buffalo on Tuesday. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Buffalo said the hearing, scheduled for 4pm Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., will occur in person, not virtually.

Police officers block a street leading to a condo building in Longueil
Police officers block a street leading to a condo building related to an investigation into the ricin-filled envelope sent to the White House, as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team checks the area in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada September 21, 2020.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI / REUTERS


The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials. The RCMP would not confirm if the suspect is an Canadian or American national. 

“Our Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team (CBRNE) is leading the operation,” the RCMP said.

Envelopes containing ricin were also mailed to law enforcement agencies in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, according to another law enforcement official. The official did not say which agencies were sent the envelopes but said they are believed to have been mailed by the same person who sent one to the White House.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One of the envelopes was sent to the police in Mission, Texas, said Investigator Art Flores, a spokesman for the border community’s police department. He said no one was hurt and that the envelope was in law enforcement’s custody. He declined to comment further.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Quebec confirmed Monday there is a police investigation taking place on a street in St-Hubert, Quebec, related to the contaminated letter sent to the White House.

The home is connected to the woman who was arrested at the border and although authorities have yet to determine whether she

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Arrest in case of ricin letters sent to White House, Texas

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border and is also suspected of sending similar poisoned envelopes to law enforcement agencies in Texas, officials said Monday.

The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Her name was not immediately released, but the woman was expected to appear in federal court on Monday.

The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials.

Envelopes containing ricin were also mailed to law enforcement agencies in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, according to another law enforcement official. The official did not say which agencies were sent the envelopes but said they are believed to have been mailed by the same person who sent one to the White House.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.

___

Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court

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A person holds seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) containing the deadly poison ricin, on June 14, 2018 in Berlin. – A Tunisian man arrested in Germany is suspected of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin that occurs in castor beans, prosecutors said, stressing however there was no indication of any “concrete attack plans”. Ricin — a poison that is produced by processing castor beans — has no known antidote and is one of the world’s most lethal toxins. (Photo by Jens Kalaene / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JENS KALAENE/AFP/Getty Images) (Photo: JENS KALAENE, AFP/Getty Images)

A woman suspected of sending a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is expected to appear in a New York court Monday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter was believed to have been mailed from Canada, the official said. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/21/ricin-suspect-linked-white-house-package-appear-ny-court/5851373002/

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Suspect who allegedly sent envelope containing ricin to White House arrested

Washington — A person suspected of sending an envelope addressed to White House that contained the poison ricin has been arrested, the FBI said Sunday. CBS News has learned the suspect, a woman, was apprehended at the New York-Canada border and is believed to have been trying to enter the U.S.

CBS News has also learned that the woman was carrying a gun.

Her name wasn’t released.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Royal Canadian Mounted Police had no comment.

The letter appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, officials said.

There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Mr. Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Obama and other officials.

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