Foreign National Gets 21 Years for Mailing Poison to Trump and Texas Police

Foreign National Gets 21 Years for Mailing Poison to Trump and Texas Police
Pascale Ferrier. (Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff's Office via AP)
Ryan Morgan
A 55-year-old Quebec woman was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison on Thursday after she admitted earlier this year to sending a ricin-laced envelope to President Donald Trump and eight different law enforcement officials in Texas in the fall of 2020.

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, a dual citizen of France and Canada, was arrested while attempting to cross from Canada into the United States on Sept. 20, 2020. Border authorities reportedly found a loaded firearm, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional firearms in Ms. Ferrier’s possession at the time of her arrest.

Just two days prior to her arrest, the White House had intercepted a poisoned letter addressed to President Trump. The poison-laced letter reportedly referenced a “special gift” for its recipient and concluded with a threat to “find a better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.” The letters were all signed “Free Rebel Spirit.”

Investigators alleged Ms. Ferrier was behind the threatening letter to the White House and she was initially charged with threatening to kill the president, making interstate threats, and violating prohibitions on the possession or transfer of biological weapons. She subsequently faced additional charges of communicating interstate threats and violating biological weapons laws, after eight law enforcement officials in Texas were also targeted with ricin-laced letters. These law enforcement officials had previously been involved in arresting and detaining Ms. Ferrier in the spring of 2019.

Ms. Ferrier ultimately pleaded guilty (pdf) to the nine separate biological weapons counts, while the remaining charges were dismissed. At her plea deal hearing (pdf), she did admit to the fact that she prepared ricin and placed it in envelopes that she then mailed from her residence in Quebec to her intended targets, and admitted that her letters communicated her threat to try different poison or use her gun on her intended targets if the ricin did not work.

Ms. Ferrier also admitted that in her letter to President Trump, she claimed he “ruined USA,” that she didn’t want “the next four years with you as president.” She also admitted to calling for him to withdraw as a presidential candidate. At other times on social media, she admitted calling President Trump an “ugly tyrant clown” and referencing “#KillTrump.”

The threats to Mr. Trump and the Texas officials were investigated through efforts by the FBI’s San Antonio and Washington Field Offices, the U.S. Secret Service, and U.S. Postal Service. The cases were also prosecuted jointly by 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.

Ms. Ferrier was tried in the U.S. District court for Washington D.C., with Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump-appointee, presiding.

No Remorse

In his comments at the sentencing hearing, Mr. Friedman said there is “absolutely no place for politically motivated violence in the United States of America.”

In considering the sentence, Judge Dabney also said she would take into consideration an argument from the prosecution that Ms. Ferrier’s actions could constitute terrorism and add to her sentence.

CNN reported Ms. Ferrier expressed no remorse for her actions during her sentencing hearing.

“The only regret I have is that it didn’t work and that I couldn’t stop Trump,” Ms. Ferrier said at one point.

She also referred to herself as a “peaceful person” and said, “I consider myself to be an activist, not a terrorist; activists are constructive, terrorists are destructive.”

Ultimately, Judge Dabney handed Ms. Ferrier a 262-month sentence, or 21 years and 10 months. The prison term was in line with the sentencing recommendation in her plea deal.

Related Topics