Quebec woman identified as suspect in case of ricin letter mailed to White House

OTTAWA — CTV News has confirmed Quebec resident Pascale Ferrier is the suspect alleged to have sent letters containing the poisonous substance ricin to U.S. President Donald Trump and different locations in Texas, including a police department.

The letters were intercepted before reaching their destination and the exact number is “in flux,” officials say. Ferrier was arrested at the New York-Ontario border on Sunday, hours after the letters were intercepted.

Ferrier was expected to appear in court later this afternoon in Buffalo, N.Y., facing federal charges in the U.S. Sources tell CTV News the appointment has been postponed to tomorrow.

According to sources, Ferrier is 53 and works as a computer programmer. She became a Canadian resident in 2015 and was later arrested in 2019 by police in Mission, Texas, in part for using a forged license. She spent three months in jail according to arrest records and was released in May of that year, travelling to Quebec shortly after.

An RCMP investigation is currently underway at Vauquelin Boulevard, a residential street located south of Montreal in St-Hubert, Que. An RCMP team dedicated to chemical threats and explosives is leading the investigation. Local police and fire units are also at the property.

RCMP Cpl. Charles Poirier told reporters in St-Hubert that police have a search warrant for a residence linked to the suspect and are assisting the FBI on the matter.

CTV News public safety analyst Chris Lewis told CTV News Channel on Monday that police will “know more about her quickly than she knows about herself, from her online presence, to her background.”

This isn’t the first time a U.S. president has been sent ricin. Letters addressed to former president Barack Obama containing the substance were intercepted on two separate occasions in 2013.

“There will be very serious charges. Ricin is a very deadly [substance], a very little amount of it can kill people and we’ve seen attacks using it around the world over the last 20 years, so pretty serious stuff,” said Lewis.

None of the charges have been proven in court.

With files from CTV News’ Annie Bergeron-Oliver

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