A dual citizen of France and Canada who sent letters containing homemade ricin to then-President Donald Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials was sentenced Thursday to nearly 22 years in prison.
Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier sent threatening letters containing the poison in September 2020, according to the federal plea agreement filed earlier this year.
According to the agreement, Ferrier made ricin at her home in Quebec, Canada, and put the poison in letters addressed to Trump at the White House and the Texas officials.
US District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich sentenced Ferrier to 262 months in prison and imposed a lifetime sentence of supervised release. As part of the sentence, Ferrier will be permanently deported from the US after she completes her prison term.
Ferrier, who appeared at the hearing in an orange prison jumpsuit and sporting a short haircut, at one point addressed the court, reading a winding statement in which she expressed no remorse for her actions and instead cast herself as a “peaceful person.”
“I consider myself to be an activist, not a terrorist,” she said. “Activists are constructive, terrorists are destructive.”
“The only regret I have is that it didn’t work and that I couldn’t stop Trump,” Ferrier said.
In considering the sentencing guidelines for Ferrier’s offenses, Friedrich had to take into account prosecutors’ argument that the defendant’s conduct “involved, or was intended to promote, a federal crime of terrorism,” which would allow the judge to add additional time to the prison term.
“There is absolutely no place for politically motivated violence in the United States of America,” assistant US attorney Michael Friedman told Friedrich.
The judge agreed. “This was potentially deadly,” Friedrich told Ferrier. “It’s harmful to you, harmful to society, harmful to the potential victims.”
The letters included references to a “special gift” and said that, “If it doesn’t work, I will find a better recipe for another poison,” according to the plea agreement. In several letters, Ferrier wrote that she “might use my gun when I will be able to come.”
In her letter to Trump, Ferrier wrote, “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!”
Ferrier had previously been detained in Texas for several weeks in 2019 and chose to send letters containing ricin to law enforcement officials she thought were involved in her detention, the agreement says.
After sending the letters from Canada, Ferrier was arrested when trying to cross the border into the US with a loaded gun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and several other weapons, according to the department.
Ferrier told border officials that she was wanted by the FBI for the letters, the agreement says.