A 55-year-old woman who holds dual French and Canadian nationality was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison on Thursday for sending a letter containing deadly ricin to then-US president Donald Trump.
Pascale Ferrier pleaded guilty in January to violating prohibitions on possession or use of banned biological weapons.
Ferrier admitted that she made ricin, an extremely toxic plant protein derived from castor bean seeds, at her home in Quebec in September 2020.
She sent a letter containing ricin that same month from Canada to the White House addressed to Trump and other poison-laced letters to eight law enforcement officials in the state of Texas.
Her letter to Trump contained “threatening language” and called on him to withdraw from the looming election, according to the Justice Department.
“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’ I hope you like it,” the letter said. “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!”
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Around the time of sending the letter, Ferrier had also posted on Twitter that someone should “shoot Trump in the face.”
Threatening the US president is a specific crime that brings up to five years in prison.
The Justice Department said that in 2019 Ferrier had been detained in Texas for around 10 weeks for weapons possession, and she blamed the law enforcement officials she eventually sent letters to.
No one was hurt by the poisonous contents of the letters. All White House mail goes through a suburban Washington processing facility, in part to screen for threats.
After mailing the letters, Ferrier attempted to enter the United States at an official crossing in Buffalo, New York, on September 20, 2020.
She was arrested there. Officials found a gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in her car, according to the Justice Department.