Woman in White House ricin letters case suspected of targeting RGV agencies

A Canadian woman accused of sending a poison-filled letter to the White House is also suspected of sending ricin to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the Mission Police Department.

Pascale Ferrier

U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested the woman at the New York-Canada border Monday, the Associated Press reported.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation identified the woman as 53-year-old Pascale Ferrier, citing U.S. court documents.

As news of the Rio Grande Valley connection to the case began to break Monday, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said a ricin-filled envelope was sent to him and three of his detention staff.

“I can confirm that envelopes containing the deadly toxin ricin, was mailed to me and three of my detention staff. At this time due to an active federal investigation I cannot make any further comments but a media release will be sent out tomorrow. No injuries were sustained,” Guerra said in a Twitter post.

Mission police spokesman Art Flores said a letter with ricin in it arrived at the Mission Police Department on Monday morning.

He said police called the FBI, who picked up the letter. No one was injured, Flores said.

Flores deferred any other questions to the FBI, which did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

The Associated Press reported Monday morning that authorities suspect the same woman who sent the poisoned letter to the White House also sent the letters to law enforcement agencies in the Valley.

The Monitor had asked the FBI whether any other law enforcement agencies in the Valley received ricin-filled letters like the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and Mission Police Department in addition to seeking a comment on the investigation.

Flores, the Mission police spokesman, confirmed Monday that police there arrested a woman in March 2019, who is suspected of sending the ricin-laced letter to the White House.

Hidalgo County court records reflect that Mission police arrested Ferrier on March 12, 2019, on charges of unlawful carrying of a weapon and tampering with a governmental record.

A misdemeanor complaint filed against Ferrier alleges she was using a fake Texas driver’s license. The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office asked that the charge be dismissed, saying it was Ferrier’s first offense and that she had already spent 20 days in the Hidalgo County jail, court documents indicate.

On May 19, 2019, County Court-at-Law No. 8 Judge Omar Maldanado signed the dismissal papers, court records show.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the woman accused of sending the letter to the White House had been deported  to Canada after being arrested in Mission. According to the Times, authorities discovered during her incarceration here that she had overstayed her six-month visa.

Hidalgo County jail records list Ferrier’s address as being in Lavell, Quebec. There is no Lavell, Quebec, but authorities may have been referring to Laval, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.

The Associated Press published photos Monday of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police searching a home in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, which is also a suburb of Montreal.

The letter that was addressed to the White House was intercepted at a facility that screens mail sent to the White House and to President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press, which says the suspect is expected to appear in federal court in Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday morning.