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Woman pleads guilty to sending ricin to President Trump in 2020

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A French-Canadian woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to sending ricin-soaked threat letters to President Donald Trump at the White House and eight Texas law enforcement officials in September 2020, the Justice Department announced.

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, admitted to making the ricin in her home in Quebec and sending the potentially deadly poison to recipients from Canada before driving to the Peace Bridge Border Crossing into the United States in Buffalo, where she was arrested on gun charges on September 20, 2020.

“I’ve found you a new name: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown,'” Ferrier wrote in her letter to Trump. The letter was received at an off-site facility near Washington where mail addressed to the White House is pre-screened and tested for hazardous materials, the FBI said.

Ferrier, a computer programmer, admitted in plea papers that she instructed Trump to “[g]get up and remove [his] application for this election,” after writing on Twitter earlier that month “#killTrump” and suggest someone “shoot please [T]trunk in the face.”

“I made a special gift for you to make a decision,” her letter read, according to the FBI. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find a better recipe for another poison, or maybe I’ll use my gun when I can come. Enjoying! FREE REBEL SPIRIT.”

Envelope addressed to Trump tested positive for ricin, officials say

Ferrier believed her targeting in Texas was related to her detention of about 10 weeks in the spring of 2019 after she was arrested by police in Mission, Texas on gun possession charges and then turned over to U.S. immigration authorities, prosecutors said.

The FBI said it matched Ferrier’s fingerprints with those found on several letters, saying they were addressed to individuals who worked in correctional facilities and detention centers where she had been held. The letters contain similar references to a “special gift for you” and include “FREE REBEL SPIRIT” in the signature block, the FBI said.

Ferrier has been held awaiting trial since her arrest in Buffalo, where Border Patrol officials found her with a loaded firearm in her waistband, hundreds of ammunition and other weapons.

Ferrier pleaded guilty to two counts of violating federal bans on biological weapons that carry a life sentence. In a plea deal, Ferrier agreed to a 262-month prison sentence upon conviction, which is scheduled for April 26 before U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in Washington.

“There is no place for political violence in our country and there is no excuse for threatening officials or endangering our officials,” said Washington U.S. attorney Matthew M. Graves, who announced the arrest with his counterpart in Houston, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. and Justice Department and FBI officials.

Ricin can be made from castor beans, but its effectiveness as a poison depends on how carefully it is processed, with low-concentration batches doing no harm.

In 2013, a man in Mississippi sent a letter containing ricin to President Barack Obama in a bizarre plot to entrap an Elvis impersonator he had a falling out with. That year, a Texas actress sent ricin-laced letters to officials, including Obama and then-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, trying to pin the blame on her husband.

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