November 3, 2017 / 2:18 PM / 2 years ago

Suspicious package cleared at White House, suspect held

The White House seen from outside the north lawn fence in Washington September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Washington man was arrested near the White House on Friday after telling a Secret Service officer he had “dropped explosives” in the area, the agency said.

The suspect, Ervin Pettaway, 33, was immediately taken into custody after approaching the officer at about 9:24 a.m. EDT near Lafayette Park, which is on the north side of the White House, the Secret Service said in a statement.

Traffic and pedestrians were kept away from the area during a police and Secret Service search for explosives and none were found, it said.

The incident occurred shortly after Republican President Donald Trump had left the White House for a trip to Asia.

Pettaway was charged with one count of felony threat.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Tom Brown

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