The white, powdery substance that prompted a brief evacuation of the White House over the weekend has been confirmed to be cocaine by laboratory testing, The Independent has learned.
A spokesperson for the US Secret Service, which by law is responsible for security in and around the 18-acre White House campus, confirmed the laboratory result in an email on Wednesday.
The spokesperson, Anthony Gugliemi, previously said the agency was standing up “an investigation into the cause and manner” of how the cocaine came to be in a public waiting area in the West Wing, where it was discovered late Sunday by officers with the Secret Service Uniformed Division.
According to DC Fire and EMS Department radio transmissions archived by OpenMHZ, firefighters with the department’s hazardous materials unit who were called to investigate the then-unidentified powder used a field test analyse a small sample, which returned a presumptive result for cocaine hydrochloride.
Neither President Joe Biden nor any other members of his family were present at the White House during the incident, as the Biden family spent the holiday weekend at Camp David, the US Navy-operated presidential retreat in Thurmont, Maryland. Mr Biden and several family members departed the White House on Friday and returned late on Monday to participate in several Independence Day events.
According to a source familiar with the events surrounding the discovery of the cocaine, it was found in a small bag in a waiting area which is regularly accessed by White House staff and visitors to the West Wing, the part of the White House which contains offices used by Mr Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the president’s senior staff, as well as members of the White House press corps.
Although there were no public tours of the White House on Sunday, staff members have long been authorised to bring family and friends into the West Wing for tours of the workspace, and the area where the cocaine was found is heavily trafficked during the week.
It is not yet known when the cocaine would have been brought into the building or by whom, but Mr Gugliemi said investigators are working to determine those facts if possible.
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