White powder found at White House identified as cocaine – Washington Post

White powder found at White House identified as cocaine – Washington Post
A visitor walks by the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 11 May 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

WASHINGTON, July 4 (Reuters) - A white powder found inside the White House late on Sunday, which led to the temporary closure of part of the presidential complex, was identified by Washington fire department as cocaine, the Washington Post reported.

The Secret Service confirmed to Reuters that an “unknown item” had been found that led to part of the White House being closed, but referred other questions to the fire department, which declined to comment.

“On Sunday evening, the White House complex went into a precautionary closure as officers from the Secret Service Uniformed Division investigated an unknown item found inside a work area,” a Secret Service spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The item was discovered in the West Wing, the spokesman said. The West Wing is an area attached to the executive mansion where the president lives and includes the Oval Office, cabinet room and press area, along with offices and workspace for the president’s advisers and staff.

President Joe Biden was not in the White House at the time. Hundreds of people work in or come through the West Wing of the White House regularly.

“The DC Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous,” the Secret Service added. There was “an investigation into the cause and manner” of how the substance entered the White House, the spokesperson said.

The Washington Post reported “a firefighter with the D.C. department’s hazardous materials team radioed the results of a test” of the item, citing an online database of emergency responder communications. The radio dispatch said “We have a yellow bar saying cocaine hydrochloride.”

Two “officials familiar with the matter” confirmed to the Washington Post that the substance found at the White House was cocaine.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Jeff Mason in Washington. Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)


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