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.

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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