Authorities have identified the woman accused of mailing the deadly ricin poison in a package to President Donald Trump and others.
The Canadian who was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on Sunday is from Quebec and was reportedly arrested while trying to cross the border back into the U.S. Pascale Ferrier was arrested at the Peace Bridge border crossing and is expected to face federal charges.
The Canadian national is suspected of mailing envelopes with the highly-toxic ricin, a product which has no known antidote. Envelopes with the poison were addressed and sent to Trump as well as to a sheriff’s office and a detention facility in Texas.
The envelopes were intercepted last week, with the one addressed to the president being examined at a facility off-site from the White House. It appeared to have been sent from Canada, according to authorities.
‘They are trying to kill him’: Secret Service intercepts package for President Trump containing Ricin https://t.co/xUzTwX1rWe
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 20, 2020
As the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington led the investigation into who had mailed the envelopes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reportedly searched a condo in Saint-Hubert in Montreal on Monday. Police spokesman Cpl. Charles Poirier indicated that residents nearby were told to evacuate as a precaution, according to CBC.
“The RCMP is assisting the FBI in this investigation,” Poirier told reporters. “We believe a total of six letters were sent — one to the White House and five to Texas.”
(Source: Global News)
Sheriff Eddie Guerra of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office in Edinburg, Texas, did confirm that ricin-laced envelopes were mailed to himself and three staff members. A police department in Mission also confirmed receipt of a suspicious letter which was turned over to the FBI, CBC reported.
Meanwhile, court records indicate that Ferrier was arrested in Mission in March 2019 for allegedly illegally carrying a firearm and using a fake driver’s license. But after serving 20 days in jail, and pleading not guilty, the charges were dropped and Ferrier was released, according to CBC.
Her appearance in court on Monday was delayed until Tuesday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office.
According to a report from the New York Times, authorities discovered during her stay in the Hidalgo County Jail that she had overstayed her six-month visa and had violated the terms of her passport by committing a crime while in the United States. She was then deported back to Canada.
Her defense lawyer from the case last year, Alberto Osorio, expressed his shock over the allegations that Ferrier had just sent the ricin envelopes.
“This is a shock, shocking to me,” he said. “My interactions with Ms. Ferrier were always very pleasant, I must say.”
“At the end of the day, I’m glad that nobody got hurt,” he added.
Mail suspected of containing ricin and sent to Trump as well as the Pentagon and other national security officials was also intercepted in 2018. The suspect, a Navy veteran named William Clyde Allen, was charged with a seven-count indictment for “knowingly” threatening to “use a biological agent and toxin, specifically ricin, as a weapon.”
Allen had reportedly sent castor beans instead of ricin, the toxic product that is extracted from the seeds of the castor bean.