Not guilty plea entered for woman charged with trying to poison President Trump

Sep 23, 2020

The woman known to the federal court system as Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier is being held in custody for another court hearing on Monday to figure out who she is and if there is probable cause that she may have mailed lethal ricin to President Trump.

It's a tale of geography, the criminal justice system on the Mexican border, the elaborate security measures taken in Washington to protect the president, buildings in the Montreal area and, finally, the Peace Bridge.

That's where the Quebec woman was arrested Sunday, coming in from Canada. Customs officials said, when searched, they found on her a loaded gun and a knife. She was arrested and arraigned before Federal Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder Tuesday.

Federal Public Defender Fonda Kubiak told the magistrate the defendant was not only challenging the criminal charges, but also whether she was the person matching the fingerprints. Schroeder decided some of these issues will be discussed in his court next Monday. He did enter a not guilty plea for the woman.

At the same time, the FBI in Washington was investigating an envelope mailed in Canada and retrieved in a facility in the D.C. area that processes mail and packages to a range of government offices, including the White House. That envelope contained ricin and insults directed to the president.

Fingerprints on the envelope matched a Texas arrest. That arrest was for weapons possession and the woman was apparently deported by ICE. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said an FBI agent will be brought in from Washington to discuss the lab findings of ricin and the fingerprints from Texas and on the envelope.

Besides the ricin sent to the president, similar packages were sent to six individuals in Texas. The FBI said all worked in facilities where the woman was held.

Canadian Mounties have been searching facilities in the Montreal area for the FBI and reported success, without explaining what was found.