Foreign National Sentenced to Nearly 22 Years in Prison for Mailing Ricin to President of the United States in 2020
Defendant Also Mailed Threatening Ricin Letters to Texas Law Enforcement Officials
WASHINGTON – Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 56, a dual citizen of Canada and France, was sentenced today to 262 months in prison for sending threatening letters containing homemade ricin (a toxin), in September 2020, to the White House and then-President Donald J. Trump, as well as to eight Texas State law enforcement officials.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office David Sundberg, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich, Jr., of the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office.
Ferrier pleaded guilty on January 25, 2023, to prohibitions with respect to biological weapons in two separate criminal cases before the Honorable Dabney L. Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. One case was brought in the District of Columbia, and the other was brought in the Southern District of Texas and transferred to the District of Columbia for purposes of plea and sentencing.
According to court documents, Ferrier admitted that she made ricin at her residence in Quebec, Canada, in September 2020. Ricin toxin is a deadly poison made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. Ferrier placed the ricin in envelopes containing letters she wrote to then-President Trump at the White House. She also added it to envelopes she sent to eight Texas State law enforcement officials.
Ferrier had been detained in the State of Texas for around ten weeks in the spring of 2019, and she believed that the law enforcement officials were connected to her period of detention. In early September 2020, Ferrier used the Twitter social media service to propose that someone should “please shoot [T]rump in the face.” The letters in the envelopes contained threatening language, and the letter addressed to then-President Trump instructed him to “[g]ive up and remove [his] application for this election.” Ferrier mailed each of the threatening ricin letters from Canada to the United States. Ferrier then drove a car from Canada to the Peace Bridge Border Crossing in Buffalo, New York, on Sept. 20, 2020, where border patrol officials found her in possession of a loaded firearm, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and other weapons, and arrested her. Ferrier has remained in custody.
In addition to the nearly 22-year term of imprisonment, Ferrier was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release. The Court will also issue an order of judicial removal requiring that Ferrier be removed from the United States at the end of her term of imprisonment.
The investigation was handled by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and San Antonio Field Office. Assistance was provided by the United States Secret Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Friedman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Assistant United States Attorneys Rob Jones, David Coronado, and David Lindenmuth, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, and Trial Attorneys David Smith and Joseph Kaster, of the DOJ’s National Security Division Counterterrorism Section.