The White House was briefly evacuated Sunday evening while President Joe Biden was at Camp David after the Secret Service discovered suspicious powder in a common area of the West Wing, and a preliminary test showed the substance was cocaine, two law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Secret Service agents were doing routine rounds on Sunday when they found the white powder in an area accessible to tour groups, not in any particular West Wing office, the officials said. The officials were not authorised to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The complex was evacuated at about 8:45 pm Sunday as fire and emergency crews were brought in to do a rapid test, which preliminarily identified cocaine. The White House was soon reopened and the powder was sent for further testing.
Biden and his family left for Camp David on Friday and returned to the White House on Tuesday.
The Secret Service said in a statement the White House was closed as a precaution as emergency crews investigated, and that the District of Columbia fire department was called in to evaluate and determine that the substance was not 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,” the Secret Service said.