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Cocaine found in the White House was in a different location than previously reported, sources say

The sources maintain that the area is highly trafficked, in keeping with the White House press secretary’s characterization Wednesday.
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WASHINGTON — Multiple officials involved in the White House cocaine inquiry now say the bag of powder was found in a cubby near the White House's West Executive entrance, not the formal West Wing lobby, as was previously reported.

Investigators expect to be done with the investigation by Monday, said two sources familiar with the investigation. The inquiry had previously been expected to take a couple of weeks.

In updating where the cocaine was found, officials said that area was also heavily trafficked.

The cocaine was found in an entrance area between the foyer and a lower-level lobby, the sources said. The entrance is near where some vehicles, like the vice president’s limo or SUV, park. It is one floor below the main West Wing offices and on the same floor as the Situation Room and a dining area.

The White House in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 2023.
The White House on June 25.Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Forensic work on the cocaine bag continued Thursday, though officials are setting low expectations that they will be able to identify who left it.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to answer when she was asked at Wednesday's briefing which of the two West Wing entrances was involved, saying she would let the Secret Service address that.

The sources maintain that the area is highly trafficked, in keeping with Jean-Pierre's characterization Wednesday. The area is transited by VIPs, visitors, tourists, staff members, military officials and facilities operations employees.

"What I wanted to be very clear is that this is a heavily, heavily trafficked, heavily traveled, to be more accurate, area of the campus of the White House," Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday. "It is where visitors to the West Wing come through.”

"This is under the purview of the Secret Service," she said. "They are currently investigating what happened over the weekend. So I would have to refer you to the Secret Service, the Secret Service, on all of this."

Officers found the cocaine during a routine patrol, a Secret Service official said. The substance tested positive for cocaine at a lab Wednesday.

President Joe Biden and his family were at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, not the White House, when officers discovered the cocaine.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., sent a letter Wednesday asking Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle for more information about the investigation. Secret Service officials say they have received the letter and will respond.