Canadian woman charged with sending ricin-laced letter to White House

A Canadian woman has been charged with threatening President Donald Trump by mailing a letter laced with the deadly poison ricin to the White House, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The woman, Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, who lives in Quebec, was carrying a knife and a loaded gun tucked into her waistband when she was taken into custody along the U.S.–Canada border Sunday, prosecutors said.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown,'” read a rambling note found inside the letter that arrived at the White House’s mail sorting center Friday, according to court documents.

“You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election. 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.”

Ferrier is also alleged to have sent letters containing a powdery substance to people at jails and detention centers in Texas, where she had recently been arrested on weapons charges. Those letters, like the letter addressed to Trump, also used the phrase “if it doesn’t work I will find a better recipe,” the complaint said.

Ferrier was taken into custody after investigators matched her fingerprints on the letters recovered in Texas with fingerprints of Ferrier in FBI databases.

The FBI said that on Sept. 9, she made postings on Twitter and Facebook saying “#killTrump” and used the same phrase found in the letter to the president: “Ugly Clown Tyrant.”

According to the complaint, she told Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing in Buffalo, New York, that she was wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters.

Ferrier was ordered held without bail at her initial court appearance in Buffalo. Her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Daniella Silva contributed.

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Canada police say six ricin-laced letters sent to U.S., including White House

By Christinne Muschi

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian police on Monday searched an apartment in a Montreal suburb linked to the woman arrested for sending a ricin-filled envelope to the White House and to five other addresses in Texas, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

U.S. authorities arrested a woman at the U.S.-Canada border near Buffalo, New York, on Sunday on suspicion that she sent the deadly poison by mail, addressed to the White House. The woman has joint Canadian and French citizenship, two sources said on Monday.

She will appear on Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) in Buffalo before Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., a spokeswoman for the federal court in the Western District of New York said.

“We believe a total of six letters were sent, one to the White House and five to Texas,” RCMP officer Charles Poirier said outside the modern brown and grey building where the search was taking place. “We can’t confirm that she lived in (the apartment), but it is connected to her.”

Poirier could not say where in Texas the envelopes were mailed, but the police department in Mission, Texas, received a suspicious letter within the last week, Art Flores, a spokesman for the department, said. The department did not open the envelope and turned it over to the FBI, he said.

Flores also said the Mission police had arrested the woman now believed to be held in Buffalo in early 2019, but said he did not have records related to the arrest and referred further inquiries to the FBI.

The FBI is investigating several suspected ricin letters sent to law enforcement and detention facilities in South Texas, a U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters.

So far they have not found any link to political or terrorist groups, but the investigation is ongoing, the source said.

The RCMP’s special Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team is leading the operation, the RCMP said.

On Saturday, the RCMP confirmed the White House letter had apparently been sent from Canada and said the FBI had requested assistance.

The envelope was intercepted at a government mail center before it arrived at the White House.

Ricin is found naturally in castor beans but it takes a deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. No known antidote exists.

(Reporting by Christinne Muschi in Longueuil, Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Mark Hosenball in Washington, additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

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