Quebec woman accused of attempting to mail ricin to the White House is also connected to arrest in Texas
|Toronto Star 21 Sep 2020 at 21:04|
Online records show that a Quebec woman named Pascale Ferrier was booked into the main jail in Hidalgo County, Texas, in March 2019 on suspicion of unlawfully carrying a weapon and using a fake driver’s licence.
Those charges were later dismissed. But a woman by the same name is now linked to an attempt to mail a deadly poison to the White House.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra announced on Twitter that his agency was also targeted.
“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 a active federal investigation I cannot make any further comments but a media release will be sent out tomorrow. No injuries were sustained,” he tweeted Monday.
Michelle Lee, an FBI spokesperson in San Antonio, declined to confirm the identity of the suspect, saying that person has an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
“The affidavit supporting the charges will then be unsealed,” she wrote in an email.
Citing law enforcement sources, the New York Times reported that the woman detained at the border this week had a ﬁrearm. The envelope she is accused of trying to send to U.S. President Donald Trump was intercepted at an off-site processing facility and did not make it to the White House mail room.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
When she was arrested last year in Texas, authorities discovered that she had overstayed her six-month visa and was deported back to Canada, the newspaper reported.
RCMP officials, meanwhile, descended Monday morning on a condo building in St-Hubert, on Montreal’s south shore, as part of the investigation.
Cpl. Charles Poirier told reporters the residence is connected to the woman arrested Sunday night at the border.
“We don’t know if she lived here but there is a clear link between her and this residence,” Poirier said.
The home is located in a multi-unit rental building on Vauquelin Boulevard, bordering a forest and not far from an airport.
Some of the units in the building were evacuated after police arrived around 10 a.m.
“Our Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team (CBRNE) is leading the operation,” Quebec RCMP said in a tweet earlier in the day. “Police and fire teams from Longueuil are also on site. All necessary measures have been taken to ensure public safety.”
When he looked out his window, there were only a few police cars. But the police presence quickly intensified and included heavily armed officers and people in hazardous materials gear.
At first he wondered if they might be filming an episode of a TV cop show.
But when he went outside to inquire what was going on, an officer told him it was a police operation involving the person suspected of trying to send the laced letter to Trump.
In addition to police vehicles, Roberge said he saw an ambulance and empty city bus standing by in case they needed to evacuate.