Monday, July 28, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 9 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Florida congressman pleads guilty to cocaine possession in D.C.

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:51 a.m. HST, Nov 20, 2013

WASHINGTON >> Florida Republican Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year's probation.

"I've hit a bottom where I realize I need help," Radel told District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Tignor in acknowledging that he purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover agent.

A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel bought cocaine in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood on Oct. 29. Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges. The charges were made public Tuesday, and Radel expressed regret in a statement.

The 37-year-old lawmaker said he struggles with alcoholism and will seek treatment and counseling. Radel made no mention of his political future but says he had made an "extremely irresponsible choice" and let down his family and his constituents.

"I want to come out of this stronger," Radel said in court, later adding that he wants to "continue serving this country."

The DEA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details of the case in his own name, said Radel was identified to authorities as a cocaine buyer by his suspected dealer. The dealer had been arrested previously as part of a separate drug investigation led by a federal task force.

"In facing this charge, I realize the disappointment my family, friends and constituents must feel. Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions," Radel said in a statement.

"However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling," he added. "I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease."

The cocaine possession charge, a misdemeanor, carries a statutory maximum of six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. Radel appears to be the first sitting member of Congress charged with a drug offense since former Rep. Frederick Richmond, D-N.Y., was convicted in 1982 on charges of tax evasion and drug possession.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the allegations are a matter for the courts.

"Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family and his constituents," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Radel was elected in 2012 to represent Florida's 19th Congressional District, which includes the Gulf Coast communities of Fort Myers and Naples. He was a radio host before becoming a congressman. He identifies himself on his Twitter profile as a "Hip Hop conservative" and "lover of #liberty," and his Twitter account has remained active in the past few weeks, including on the day of the bust.

Among the bills he's co-sponsored during his freshman term is legislation to amend the country's mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws.

Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry said he was disappointed in Radel but glad that he was seeking help.


Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 9 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
eastside808 wrote:
Life imitating art...House of Cards.
on November 19,2013 | 02:46PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Even the high & mighty can get busted?
on November 19,2013 | 03:04PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Yea. He was mighty "high". Time to lay off the sauce, Sir.
on November 20,2013 | 05:19AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
This is the same guy who feels we should drug test food stamp recipients. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/trey-radel-drug-testing_n_4305348.html
on November 19,2013 | 03:04PM
mikethenovice wrote:
on November 20,2013 | 05:19AM
false wrote:
Just a test to prove to the Democrats that he is worthy of switching parties.
on November 19,2013 | 03:17PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
One more southern GOP down. What a pos. Better now then a 86 year old GOP.
on November 19,2013 | 03:51PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Great, another political resignation. Get rid of all these actors attempting to show they are leaders.
on November 19,2013 | 03:35PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Typical Republican who think that they are above the law. You are not. Better obey the law.
on November 20,2013 | 05:18AM
Breaking News
Political Radar
`My side’

Political Radar
‘He reminds me of me’

Bionic Reporter
Needing a new knee

Warrior Beat
Monday musings

Small Talk
Burning money

Political Radar
On policy

Warrior Beat
Apple fallout