WASHINGTON — A Canadian woman on Wednesday pleaded guilty to mailing a threatening letter containing the poison ricin to then-President Donald Trump at the White House in 2020.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, of Quebec, pleaded guilty to nine counts of violating biological weapons prohibitions, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Ferrier entered her plea in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In addition to the charge connected to the letter to Trump, Ferrier also pleaded guilty to eight additional violations of biological weapons prohibitions in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Ferrier was accused of sending threatening letters to Texas law enforcement officials, according to The Associated Press.
She will be sentenced to 262 months in prison if her plea agreement is accepted by the court, the DOJ news release stated. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 26.
“I need to move on now,” Ferrier, who owns dual citizenship in Canada and France, told U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich during Wednesday’s hearing in Washington, D.C., according to Canadian Press.
The charges in Texas, which were transferred to the D.C. court, stem from letters Ferriers allegedly sent to police officers, supervisors and prison officials after spending 10 weeks in 2019 in a Texas jail on charges that were ultimately dismissed, according to Hidalgo County online court records.
Ferrier holds an engineering degree from France and crafted ricin at her Montreal-area home from scratch by using castor beans, Canadian Press reported.
According to court documents, Ferrier’s letter to Trump in September 2020 stated that “You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have U.S. cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as President. Give up and remove your application for this election!”
She was arrested on Sept. 20, 2020, at the Peace Bridge border crossing that connects Fort Erie, Canada, to Buffalo, New York, Canadian Press reported. Prosecutors said the letter was intercepted two days earlier before it could be delivered to the White House, according to the news outlet.
Authorities said Ferrier was attempting to enter the U.S. with a loaded gun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and other weapons, according to the DOJ release.
“There is no place for political violence in our country, and no excuse for threatening public officials or endangering our public servants,” the U.S. attorney in Washington, Matthew Graves, said in a statement, according to the AP.
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