WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSMiami/AP) – A Florida congressman has been charged with cocaine possession after what officials described as a “buy and bust” operation Tuesday.
Representative Henry “Trey” Radel was arrested October 29th in the District of Columbia. A one-sentence court document did not add any details about his arrest.
The first term Republican congressman from Southwest Florida was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor possession of cocaine. His next court appearance was set for Wednesday.
In a statement expressing regret, the 37-year-old Republican freshman lawmaker said he struggles with alcoholism and intends to seek treatment and counseling. Radel made no mention of his political future.
A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel was arrested after buying cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer. 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.
“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,” his statement said. “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.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the allegations are a matter for the courts.
“Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family and his constituents,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
Radel, 37, was elected in 2012 to represent the 19th District of Florida, which includes the Gulf Coast communities of Fort Myers and Naples. He was a radio host before becoming a congressman. He is married and has a young son.
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