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13 Jul, 2023 18:49

White House ends cocaine probe

The US Secret Service has closed its investigation without identifying a suspect
White House ends cocaine probe

The owner of the bag of cocaine left in a White House locker earlier this month remains unknown, the Secret Service said on Thursday, reportedly closing the case due to lack of evidence. 

“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 Secret Service said in a statement. The FBI laboratory test, which came back on Wednesday, “did not develop latent fingerprints and insufficient DNA was present for investigative comparisons,” the agency added.

The lack of evidence means the investigators “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,” the agency concluded. 

At this time, the Secret Service’s investigation is closed due to a lack of physical evidence.

The bag was discovered on July 2 in a storage locker used to deposit personal items not permitted in the secure area of the West Wing. The Secret Service initially evacuated the building due to concerns that the white powder could be a biological weapon like anthrax. Field tests quickly revealed that the substance was actually cocaine, and this was later confirmed by a lab test.

Cocaine is a Schedule II narcotic in the US, illegal to possess without a doctor’s prescription. It has also been the drug of choice of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who admitted to his addiction in a recent memoir, after video evidence of it was found on the laptop he had abandoned at a Delaware repair shop. 

Former president Donald Trump has suggested the drug may have belonged to either Hunter or his father, and predicted the entire scandal will quickly get covered up. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has insisted that the entire First Family was at the Camp David presidential retreat over the weekend when the cocaine was found.

The Secret Service looked at White House staff, contractors, members of the military and some visitors who may have passed through the area. The nearby Situation Room is currently undergoing renovations and is not in use for secure meetings.

House Oversight Committee chair James Comer demanded a briefing from the Secret Service about the case, calling the presence of drugs in the West Wing “unacceptable and a shameful moment in the White House’s history” in a letter sent last week.

After the closed-doors briefing on Thursday morning, several additional details emerged about the case. The cocaine was found in locker number 50 and the key to that locker remains missing, according to Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia revealed that the Secret Service had narrowed down the list of suspects to 500 names, but declined to drug-test any of them. 

“Somebody walks in the White House, the most secure building in the United States of America – in the world, actually – and can place something in a locker,” fumed Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, telling CNN that “somebody should lose their job over this, a lot of people.”