WASHINGTON- Congressman Trey Radel has been charged with cocaine possession after what a federal law enforcement official described Tuesday as a "buy and bust" operation.
A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel allegedly bought cocaine from an undercover agent in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood on Oct. 29. Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges related to his purchase of cocaine.
The 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 previously arrested as part of a separate drug investigation led by a federal task force.
DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno confirmed that the charge resulted from a joint DEA-FBI investigation.
Radel is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning. The charge carries a maximum of 180 days of imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000.
The 37-year-old Republican was elected in 2012.
Radel is a former WINK-TV news anchor and conservative talk show host on 92.5 Fox News Radio in Fort Myers.
The Congressman released the following statement:
“I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. 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.”
“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.”
“However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. 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.”
“Please keep my family in your prayers.”