A French Canadian woman who admitted mailing a ricin-laced letter to President Donald Trump at the White House shortly before the 2020 election was sentenced Thursday to 22 years in prison, authorities said.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, now 56, manufactured the potentially lethal white powder at her home in Quebec in September 2020 and included the substance in threatening letters she sent to Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials, according to the Justice Department.
“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’,” Ferrier, a computer programmer, said in her letter to Trump. The letter was received at an off-site facility near D.C. where mail addressed to the White House is prescreened and tested for dangerous substances, the FBI said at the time.
After mailing the letters, Ferrier, a dual citizen of Canada and France, drove to the Peace Bridge Border Crossing into the United States in Buffalo, where she was arrested Sept. 20, 2020, on weapons charges. The U.S. Border Patrol said she was carrying a loaded firearm in her waistband and had hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Ferrier thought the targets of her Texas letters were connected to her detention for about 10 weeks in spring 2019 after she was arrested by police in Mission, Tex., on a weapons possession charge, prosecutors said.
In two cases stemming from the ricin letters — one in U.S. District Court in D.C., the other in the Southern District of Texas — Ferrier pleaded guilty in January this year to violating federal laws regarding biological weapons. She was sentenced Thursday by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in federal court in D.C.
Ricin can be made from waste materials from the processing of castor beans.
“I made a Special Gift for you to make a decision,” her letter to Trump stated, according to the FBI. “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 FBI said it matched Ferrier’s fingerprints to those found on several of the letters.