The White House was temporarily closed on Sunday evening after Secret Service agents discovered a white powder substance suspected to be cocaine inside a work area in the West Wing.
The Secret Service said in a statement that the White House was closed to allow members of law enforcement to investigate the substance and that the District of Columbia fire department assisted in evaluating the substance.
The fire department “quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous” after an initial evaluation, a spokesperson for the Secret Service said.
A fire department and emergency medical services field test Sunday evening identified a “yellow bar, meaning cocaine, hydrochloride” after a dispatch at 8:49 p.m., according to a publicly available recording of the encrypted call.
President Joe Biden and his family were away from the White House when the substance was discovered.
Biden departed for Camp David on Friday evening and did not return to the White House until Tuesday morning.
The Secret Service said in the statement that the White House complex “went into a precautionary closure” as officers investigated the unknown item.
The substance discovered in the White House will undergo further tests, according to the Secret Service.
“The item was sent for further evaluation and an investigation into the cause and manner of how it entered the White House is pending,” said Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
The discovery of the white powder substance comes at a time when the Secret Service is under scrutiny for a number of security lapses, including the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
The Secret Service has said that it is committed to ensuring the safety of the White House and its occupants and that it is taking the matter of the white powder substance very seriously.
The investigation into how the substance entered the White House is ongoing.