The Navy barracks at Truman Annex were evacuated Wednesday after a maid found white powder in a folded piece of paper in a drawer.
The powder was later identified as crushed prescription painkillers, but the incident marked the third time in less than a week that a white powder substance caused a brief scare in Key West.
The powder was discovered at 11:55 a.m. in a drawer in Room 438 at the Navy Gateway Inn, a downtown barracks used primarily by pilots and squadron staff members during flight training exercises at Boca Chica Key, said Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West spokeswoman Trice Denny.
Military police and firefighters were called to the scene and cleared the five buildings that comprise the barracks, said Special Agent Mark Barstow of Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS).
The room was vacant, but recently had someone staying in it, Barstow said. Navy police contacted the recent occupant, who confirmed the powder was probably ground-up painkillers.
The substance was destroyed. There were only five people inside all five buildings when the maid found the powder and the gate was shut down only briefly, Barstow said.
"From a criminal standpoint, this is a non-issue," Barstow said. "There is no threat and nothing to indicate that."
There will be no arrests made as a result of the incident, Barstow added.
The scene was cleared of emergency responders and military police by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
"There was no letter and nothing found in the mail," Denny said, referring to two recent -- and unrelated -- incidents in Key West. "You can't be overly cautious in these situations and even though it turned out to be a benign situation, our fire and security personnel took the proper steps to secure the scene."
The two recent events in Key West -- that were not related to the Navy incident Wednesday -- included two letters officials said were an apparent anthrax hoax. One was sent to the Whitehead Street post office and was opened on Friday. The sender claimed the envelope contained anthrax.
The second letter, also purporting to contain anthrax, arrived Tuesday at the old courthouse building on Whitehead Street.
Both were apparently sent by convicted bank robber Antonio Warren Gantt, 45, who is currently serving a life sentence at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md. A photo of the envelope provided by NBC 6 Miami shows Gantt's name and prison ID number.
The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service is investigating what charges will be filed against Gantt, who is serving time for robbing banks in California, Georgia, Nevada and Maryland, according to www.somdnews.com.
In one 2007 bank robbery, Gantt reportedly sprayed bank employees with gasoline. Gantt represented himself at trial and at his subsequent appeal. He lost both cases.
Similar fake anthrax letters were reported in Connecticut, North Carolina and as far away as Hawaii, according to media reports of similar incidents in the past five days.
Whether or not Gantt is behind those letters remains under investigation.