WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters) – Cocaine discovered at the White House on Sunday was found in a cubby hole in the West Wing’s entrance area, where visitors keep electronics and other items before going on tours, a source familiar with the matter said. said on Wednesday.
The White House said the Secret Service is investigating the matter. The source said, “They are checking visitor logs and…looking at cameras. These are the next steps. Cross-checking.”
White House spokeswoman Caryn Jean-Pierre told reporters: “Where it was discovered is a heavily traveled area where many … West Wing tourists visit.”
Asked whether anyone had tested drug-tested as part of the investigation, Jean-Pierre said: “Pending the results of the Secret Service, we will take whatever action… is appropriate and necessary.”
Possession of cocaine, which is classified as a “Schedule II” drug under the US Controlled Substances Act, is a misdemeanor in Washington, DC.
The West Wing is connected to the executive mansion where President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden live.
It includes the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, and work space for the presidential staff. Hundreds of people pass through the West Wing on a regular basis, including political staffers, their guests, and members of the press.
Jean-Pierre said the West Wing tours would take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The substance was found during a routine Secret Service check on Sunday evening. A Secret Service spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. The agency has not said how much cocaine was found.
Due to this discovery, the White House complex had to be closed for some time on Sunday. Biden and his family were not at the White House at that time.
Biden did not answer questions that reporters fired at him about cocaine on Wednesday. The president thinks it’s “incredibly important” to get to the bottom of this, Jean-Pierre said.
Administration officials have been able to offer friends and family members tours of parts of the West Wing. People who are not staff members must leave electronics and other items in the storage room before leaving for the tour.
The source said of the cocaine, “It was in a cubby.”
Biden and his family returned to the White House on Tuesday morning after spending the weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland. Family members who visit the Bidens traditionally enter and exit through the East Wing, the source said.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons, David Gregorio and Howard Goller
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