A Quebec woman has been indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury in Texas for sending envelopes allegedly filled with ricin to officials in the state, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.
The grand jury in Brownsville, Texas, charged Pascale Ferrier, 53, with eight counts each of prohibitions with respect to biological weapons and making threats via interstate commerce.
“Between Sept. 14-21, Ferrier allegedly sent envelopes containing letters and a powdery substance to multiple local agencies,” the statement said, noting that the agencies included sheriff’s offices and detention centres.
Ferrier is currently in custody in Washington after pleading not guilty in September to a separate charge of threatening the president. Ferrier, a dual Canadian-French citizen, was arrested at the Peace Bridge border crossing between Fort Erie, Ont., and New York State on Sept. 20; a federal judge in New York denied her release on bail.
According to an affidavit by an FBI bomb technician, officials intercepted a letter addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump and postmarked from Canada containing ricin at a mail sorting facility on Sept. 18. Ricin is found naturally in castor beans and is a deadly poison. Exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead can be fatal.
Ferrier is expected to appear in Brownsville at a future date. If convicted, she could face up to life in prison on the biological weapons charges; the mail threat charges carry a possible five-year sentence, while both convictions would carry a possible $250,000 US fine.
Ferrier’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the new charges.