Washington. The US Secret Service completed its investigation into a package of cocaine found at the White House earlier this month but was unable to identify the suspect “due to a lack of physical evidence,” the agency said on Thursday.
In a statement describing the events surrounding the cocaine discovery that began on July 2, the Secret Service said it had compiled a list of “several hundred” people as part of its review who may have had access to the area where the substance was found. But no fingerprints were found on the cocaine packaging and there was “not enough DNA” for “investigative comparisons,” the Secret Service said.
The agency said no CCTV footage was found that could give investigators any investigative leads or other means to determine who owned the cocaine.
“Without material evidence, the investigation will not be able to single out the defendant from hundreds of people who passed through the vestibule where cocaine was found,” the department noted. “The Secret Service investigation is currently closed due to lack of physical evidence.”
The cocaine saga began shortly before the Fourth of July, when the White House was temporarily closed after Secret Service officials discovered an “unknown item” on July 2. The department, shortly after the substance was found, revealed that it was cocaine. Subsequent testing confirmed this finding.
The cocaine contained in a small Ziploc bag was found in a closet that visitors used to store mobile phones and other personal items before entering the West Wing. The Secret Service described the location of the substance as “inside the lobby leading to the White House entrance lobby from West Executive Avenue.”
President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden were not at the White House when the cocaine was discovered, as they spent the weekend at Camp David before returning for the Fourth of July celebration.
However, his discovery raised a number of questions for the White House, including about his security protocols and who had access to the site where the substance was found. White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre said the site is “heavily visited” by staff and visitors, including those taking tours.
The president was briefed on the incident, and the cocaine discovery raised questions from Republicans in the House of Representatives. Oversight committee chairman James Comer said last week that his group would evaluate the White House’s security practices, and on Thursday the Secret Service briefed the committee behind closed doors.
Lawmakers attending the briefing confirmed that the Secret Service investigation would end without establishing who owned the cocaine, causing Republicans to get angry and ask more questions.
“This is deeply upsetting,” Rep. Nancy Mays, a South Carolina Republican, told reporters. “This is one of the safest places in the world, some of the best law enforcement officers in the world. And they don’t have the answers.”
Mace said that “no one will know who did it or how.”
Republican Party spokesman Tim Burchett of Tennessee said it was a “total failure” and a “clown show”.
The Secret Service has conducted an investigation into how the cocaine ended up in the White House and said that as part of its investigation, it will review security footage and entry logs to determine who had access to the location where it was found.
Nicole Sganga and Ellis Kim contributed to this report