The Quebec woman accused of sending a ricin-laced letter to U.S. President Donald Trump allegedly described him as an “Ugly Tyrant Clown” and told him that if the poison didn’t work, she would find “a better recipe” or use her gun, according to media reports.
Laval resident Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, has been charged with threatening Trump after allegedly sending the letter containing ricin to the president and six other Texas-based addresses. The letter destined for Trump was intercepted at a screening facility on Friday.
Ferrier pleaded not guilty in a Buffalo, New York, court on Tuesday.
According to CTV News, the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued Ferrier should remain detained in the U.S. because she was a flight risk.
According to Reuters, the letter addressed to Trump said, “I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown.’ I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster.” It also reportedly described ricin as a “gift” to him and said, “Give up and remove your application for this election.”
When she was arrested, she had a loaded gun in her waistband and a knife, according to an affidavit reported on by CTV. Social media accounts seemingly belonging to Ferrier reveal she had travelled extensively throughout the United States in recent years and had previously been arrested.
Per a Facebook page set up for her web development business, Ferrier drove an RV from Quebec to Texas in 2018. In May 2019, she was arrested in Edinburg, Texas, on two firearms charges and for tampering with a government record, although the charges appear to have been dismissed. Not long after, her Facebook page reported she was heading back to Canada.
Earlier this month, a Twitter account that appeared to belong to Ferrier—which had been dormant—started tweeting threatening anti-Trump messages. Responding to a May 29 tweet that recommended someone shoot the president in the face, Ferrier’s account replied on September 9: "I just read this tweet. I agree… Nobody did anything… It's time to change! #killtrump." She also liked other anti-Trump tweets. The only accounts Ferrier follows are law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service.
According to her LinkedIn, Ferrier has previously worked for several defence contractors, including French aerospace companies Thales and Airbus. Her current employer is listed as American defence firm Pratt & Whitney.
Police in Quebec sent a specialized team, which includes chemical and biological weapons experts, to investigate a condo in Montreal’s Saint-Hubert borough on Monday. RCMP Cpl. Charles Poirier told reporters that the RCMP was executing search warrants, at the request of the FBI, in one of the units.
Poirier said the unit in question was "connected" to Ferrier, but could not confirm if she lived there. Police said they didn’t know if the ricin was produced in the condo building, but evacuated nearby units.
Reports state that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the RCMP are working together on this case.
Ricin is the byproduct created when processing castor beans. It can cause severe respiratory problems if inhaled and internal bleeding and organ failure if ingested. It can kill the victim up to four to five days after initial exposure. The Mayo Clinic says “even a small amount of ricin may be fatal.”
This isn’t the first time that a U.S. president was the target of an attempted ricin attack. In April of 2013, letters containing ricin were sent to then-president Barack Obama, a Republican senator, and a Mississippi judge. In 2018, letters containing trace amounts of ricin were sent to Trump and other Republican politicians.
—with files from Mack Lamoureux
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