On Sunday, a suspicious white substance was discovered by the Secret Service in the White House during a routine inspection. The discovery of the unknown substance resulted in elevated security and a brief precautionary shutdown of the executive mansion.
Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said, “The White House complex was closed as a precaution around 20:45 local time (01:45 BST) on Sunday after Secret Service officers found the white powder ‘inside a work area’ of the West Wing.”
The West Wing houses the Oval Officer and offices of the president’s top aides and support staff. Upon the substance’s discovery, a hazmat team was called to the area of 18th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
“The DC Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous. The item was sent for further evaluation and an investigation into the cause and manner of how it entered the White House is pending,” added Anthony.
The preliminary field test of the unknown substance tested positive for cocaine, but proper lab testing is under process for a formal conclusion.
According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
In a recording of a radio message from a D.C. Fire hazmat personnel at the scene on Sunday night, the crew official said: “We have a yellow bar saying cocaine hydrochloride.”
Anthony neither confirmed nor disputed the initial field test that found the powder to be cocaine.
The Secret Service will lead a full review to determine the cause and manner of how the substance entered the West Wing of the White House, a senior law enforcement official said.
President Joe Biden and his family had left for Camp David on Friday and returned on Tuesday for an event with the National Education Association and Fourth of July festivities.