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Powder found at White House was cocaine, officials tell AP

The powdery substance was discovered in a work area of the West Wing, Scripps News learned.
Law enforcement investigating powdery substance found at White House
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jul 04, 2023

The Secret Service is investigating what it calls an "unknown item" found Sunday inside the White House. 

"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," said Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi in an email to Scripps News.

The Bidens were at Camp David during the discovery.

"The DC Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous," said Guglielmi. "The item was sent for further evaluation and an investigation into the cause and manner of how it entered the White House is pending."

Initial tests showed the powder to be cocaine, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk about the case publicly.

Scripps News has not independently verified those findings.

A senior law enforcement official told Scripps News the "unknown item" was a powdery substance that was discovered in a work area of the West Wing, and that news reports that it was found in the residential part of the White House known as the Executive Mansion are incorrect.

Speaking on background, the official said that after the powder was discovered during a routine patrol and determined to be non-hazardous it was collected by Secret Service agents and sent to a lab to be formally tested with the assistance of the FBI.

Multiple reports referenced audio files purporting to be DC Fire dispatch logs, released on a private website that tracks emergency communications. In the audio, the authenticity of which Scripps News has not confirmed, individuals can be heard suggesting the substance had tested positive for cocaine. 

The D.C. Fire Department told Scripps News that it cannot authenticate the audio because it was disseminated by a private company. Scripps News has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the original dispatches.

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