How a GOP Congressman Got Busted For Buying Coke

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 20 2013 10:38 AM

How a GOP Congressman Got Busted For Buying Coke

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U.S. Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) speaks during a press conference, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Trey Radel pleaded guilty this morning to misdemeanor cocaine possession and was sentenced by a D.C. judge to one year's probation. "I've hit a bottom where I realize I need help," the first-term Republican congressman told the judge, acknowledging that he bought 3.5 grams of coke from an undercover agent late last month. Here's the Washington Post with more on how the Florida congressman got busted:

Radel and a friend of his met an undercover agent at a restaurant in Dupont Circle at 10 p.m. on Oct. 29, prosecutors said in court. Radel asked the friend and the agent to go with him to his home. The agent declined. Radel then purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine, estimated to be worth $250, from the agent in his car.
After the transaction was made, officers stormed the vehicle, and Radel dropped the drugs. He allegedly invited the officers back to his apartment to discuss the incident. When officers went to the home, they found a vial containing cocaine.
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News of the charges surfaced yesterday evening, and Radel quickly expressed regret in a public statement. "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice," he said. "As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them."

The freshman lawmaker has made no mention of the possibility of stepping down, and from the sounds of it won't be pressured to by his party's leaders to do so. "Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents," said a spokesman for John Boehner. According to the AP, Radel is the first sitting congressman to be charged with a drug offense since 1982.

This post has been updated.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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