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Texas

Woman pleads guilty to sending deadly ricin to Trump, Texas sheriff and others

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas. On Wednesday, January 22, a Canadian and French citizen pleaded guilty to sending the deadly ricin to former President Donald Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials, authorities said.

Pascal Cécile Véronique Ferrier, 55, pleaded guilty to bioweapons ban charges, according to federal documents. As part of the plea agreement, Ferrier agreed to 262 months in prison.

On September 18, 2020, the US Secret Services were notified of a letter addressed to then-President Donald Trump, according to an affidavit obtained by ValleyCentral.

Letters about ricin were sent to prominent officials in the valley.

According to the federal indictment, Ferrier sent letters containing ricin to the following individuals and agencies:

  • Sheriff JE “Eddie” Guerra, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chief Robert Dominguez, Mission Police Department
  • Corporal Ashley Ybarra, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
  • Sergeant Cynthia Casanova, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
  • Corporal Veronica Bueno, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
  • Chief of the Brooks County Detention Center
  • Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Deputy Warden Alexander Sanchez, El Valle Detention Center

The letters contained a snippet of the same message sent to Trump.

“The gift is in this letter. If that doesn’t work, I’ll find a better poison or use a gun when I can get there. Enjoy!” the letter read, according to the affidavit.

Upon reviewing the letter to Trump, it was found to contain white powdery material with the message that they had made a “special gift”.

Authorities said the material was tested and determined to be suspected positive for the presence of ricin, a deadly poison derived from castor bean processing waste.

Sheriff Guerra discusses the guilty plea

ValleyCentral spoke with Sheriff Guerra following news of Ferrier’s plea agreement and sentencing.

“This sends a strong signal to those who would like to do so, especially the President of the United States, and even more so the sheriff or chief of police,” Guerra said. “There are many technologies that we can explore. We will be able to find you and will seek the maximum possible punishment.”

What will happen to Ferrier now?

Judging by the documents, Ferrier’s sentencing is scheduled for April 26.

According to a Justice Department press release, Ferrier was detained in Texas for 10 weeks in the spring of 2019 and believed law enforcement was involved in her detention. Hidalgo County Jail records show that Ferrier was arrested by the Mission Police Department on two counts of illegal possession of a weapon and one count of forgery of government documents.

On September 20, 2020, Ferrier was driving from Canada to the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo, New York, where she was arrested by the US Border Patrol, the report said. She was found in possession of a loaded firearm, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and other weapons, according to authorities.

(ValleyCentral and KXAN contributed to this report)

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