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Press Release

Canadian citizen indicted in Brownsville for sending powder-filled envelopes to local authorities

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A Brownsville federal grand jury has indicted a Canadian woman for prohibitions with respect to biological weapons and making threats via interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI.

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier aka Jane Ferrier, 53, is currently in custody in Washington, D.C., on separate, but similar charges. She is expected to make her initial appearance in Brownsville at a future date.

The grand jury returned the indictment yesterday charging Ferrier with eight counts each of prohibitions with respect to biological weapons and making threats via interstate commerce.

Between Sept. 14-21, Ferrier allegedly sent envelopes containing letters and a powdery substance to multiple local agencies. These included the El Valle Detention Facility, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center, Brooks County Detention Center, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office and Mission Police Department, according to the charges.

The substance sent is alleged to be Ricin.

If convicted, Ferrier faces up to life for the biological weapons charges, while threats via interstate commerce carries a potential five-year sentence. Both convictions also carry a maximum $250,000 possible fine.

The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s – Office of Professional Responsibility; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; police departments in Raymondville, Pharr and Mission; El Valle Detention Facility;

Fire departments in Harlingen and Brooks County; Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office; Brooks County Detention Center; and Texas Department of State Health Services. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Coronado, David A. Lindenmuth and Alamdar Hamdani are prosecuting the case.  

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated December 15, 2020

National Security