Florida Republican Rep. Henry "Trey'' Radel pleaded guilty Wednesday 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 a District of Columbia Superior Court in acknowledging that he purchased cocaine from an undercover agent for $260 outside a Dupont restaurant.
Radel (R-Fla.) was charged with misdemeanor drug possession after he was found in possession of 3.5 grams of cocaine in D.C. Oct. 29.
The 37-year-old lawmaker said he 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.''
An individual taken into custody by the FBI and DEA told officers Congressman Radel was one of his clients. A drug buy was set up in Dupont Circle, which Radel showed up to. It has not been confirmed whether Radel was arrested, but he was reportedly questioned by agents and later charged.
In a statement released Tuesday, Radel blamed alcoholism.
"I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of southwest Florida," he said. "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice."
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, a freshman congressman, was elected by the 19th District of Florida in 2012. He was a radio host prior to his election.
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