RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas — A dual Canadian and France citizen pleaded guilty Wednesday to mailing deadly ricin to former President Donald Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials, authorities announced.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, pleaded guilty to charges of prohibitions with respect to biological weapons, federal records show. As part of a plea agreement, Ferrier agreed to a sentence of 262 months in prison.
On Sept. 18, 2020, the U.S. Secret Services was notified of a letter addressed to then-President Donald Trump, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by ValleyCentral.
Ricin letters went to prominent Valley officials
According to a federal indictment, Ferrier sent letters containing ricin to the following individuals and agencies:
- Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office
- Chief Robert Dominguez, Mission Police Department
- Corporal Ashley Ibarra, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
- Sgt. Cynthia Casanova, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
- Corporal Veronica Bueno, Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center
- Warden, Brooks County Detention Center
- Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office
- Deputy Warden Alexander Sanchez, El Valle Detention Facility
The letters contained a segment of the same message that was sent to Trump.
“The gift is in this letter. If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. Enjoy!” the letter read, according to the affidavit.
Upon reviewing the letter to Trump, it was discovered to have a white, powdery material with a message saying they made a “special gift.”
The material was tested and determined to be a presumptive positive match for ricin, a deadly poison made from the waste material from processing castor beans, authorities said.
Sheriff Guerra discusses the guilty plea
ValleyCentral spoke with Sheriff Guerra following the news of Ferrier’s plea agreement and sentence.
“It sends a strong message to those that would consider doing this, especially to the President of the United States, much less a sheriff or chief of police,” Guerra said. “There’s a lot of technology out there available for us to investigate. We’re going to be able to find you and we’re going to seek the maximum possible punishment.”
What will happen to Ferrier now?
Ferrier sentencing is scheduled for April 26, records show.
According to a news release from the Department of Justice, Ferrier had been detained in Texas for 10 weeks in the spring of 2019 and believed law enforcement were connection to her detention. Hidalgo County Jail records show that Ferrier was arrested by the Mission Police Department on two counts of unlawful carrying of a weapon and one count of tampering with a government record.
On Sept. 20, 2020, Ferrier was driving a car from Canada to the Peace Bridge Border Crossing in Buffalo, New York, where she was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol, the release stated. According to authorities, she was found in possession of a loaded firearm, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and other weapons.
(ValleyCentral and KXAN contributed to this report)