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U.S. Secret Service Closes White House Cocaine Investigation Due to ‘Lack of Physical Evidence’

The West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The West Wing of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By: Brett Rowland | The Center Square

The U.S. Secret Service said Thursday it closed its investigation into cocaine found at the White House because of a "lack of physical evidence" 11 days after the illegal drug was found in one of the nation's most secure buildings.

"There was no surveillance video footage found that provided investigative leads or any other means for investigators to identify who may have deposited the found substance in this area," the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement. "Without physical evidence, the investigation will not be able to single out a person of interest from the hundreds of individuals who passed through the vestibule where the cocaine was discovered. At this time, the Secret Service's investigation is closed due to a lack of physical evidence."

Officers from the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division discovered what later turned out to be cocaine July 2 inside a vestibule leading to the lobby area of the West Executive Avenue entrance to the White House. The stash was located inside a receptacle used to store electronic and personal devices before entering the West Wing.

After finding the unknown white powder, the Secret Service evacuated the White House as a precaution.

"This response was designed to ensure that the found substance was not a chemical or radiological material that threatened the security of the White House," according to agency, which is responsible for protecting the president. "As such, the substance was field tested and preliminarily determined to not be a hazardous compound."

The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department found powder tested preliminarily positive for cocaine, according to the Secret Service. After that, it was treated as evidence and sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center.

"Tests conducted at this facility came back negative and gave formal confirmation that the substance was not biological in nature," according to the Secret Service.

Additional forensic testing at Federal Bureau of Investigation's crime lab sought to determine its chemical composition and "the packaging was subjected to advanced fingerprint and DNA analysis," according to the Secret Service.

"While awaiting the FBl's results, the Secret Service investigation into how this item entered the White House continued. The investigation included a methodical review of security systems and protocols," according to the Secret Service. "This review included a backwards examination that spanned several days prior to the discovery of the substance and developed an index of several hundred individuals who may have accessed the area where the substance was found. The focal point of these actions developed a pool of known persons for comparison of forensic evidence gleaned from the FBI’s analysis of the substance's packaging."

On Wednesday, the Secret Service got results from the FBI lab: No latent fingerprints and not enough DNA for comparison.

"Therefore, the Secret Service is not able to compare evidence against the known pool of individuals," according to the Secret Service.

President Joe Biden was not at the White House at the time the cocaine was found. He left with his wife for Camp David, the President’s country residence in Maryland, on Friday before the cocaine was found on July 2, a Sunday.

Cocaine, a central nervous system stimulant, is illegal in the United States.

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