An envelope laced with a poisonous powder that was recently mailed to the White House also contained a letter with an ominous message for U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Give up and remove your application for this election,” it said.
The sender went on to say that if the powder — which turned out to be the deadly toxin, ricin — didn’t work, “I’ll find (a) better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.”
On Tuesday, the Quebec woman accused of sending that envelope made her first appearance in U.S. federal court in Buffalo.
Pascale Ferrier, 53, faces a charge of making threats against the president of the United States. The court entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.
Ferrier said little other than to acknowledge receiving a copy of the complaint and agreeing to a court-appointed attorney.
Court heard that prosecutors are seeking to keep Ferrier detained until trial because she poses a “serious risk of flight” and because the allegations involve a “crime of violence.”
Her public defender, meanwhile, requested an identity hearing to confirm that Ferrier is, in fact, the person named in the complaint and a preliminary hearing to establish whether probable cause exists for the charges.
All those matters are scheduled to be heard Sept. 28.
According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed in court by Jonathan Preston, an FBI special agent, authorities were notified on Sept. 18 that a letter had been intercepted at the White House mail sorting facility and found to contain a white powder. It later tested positive for ricin, which is derived from the seeds of the castor bean plant.
The letter stated: “I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’ I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election. So I made a ‘Special Gift’ for you to make a decision. This 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! FREE REBEL SPIRIT.”
FBI field offices in Texas, meanwhile, were notified days earlier of six additional letters, similar to the one addressed to Trump, that had been sent to various individuals working at penitentiaries and detention centres in Texas.
Those letters also appeared to have originated from Canada, contained a powdery substance and used similar language to the letter sent to Trump.
Online records show that in early 2019, Pascale was booked into the main jail in Hidalgo County, Texas, and charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and using a fake Texas driver’s licence. The charges were later dismissed.
According to the FBI affidavit, Ferrier was arrested Sunday as she attempted to enter the U.S. at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo. She told customs officers she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the affidavit says. She had a loaded gun in her waistband, as well as a knife.
None of the allegations against her have been proven in court.
More to come.