Congressman Trey Radel Avoids Jail Time on Cocaine Possession Charge

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Republican Representative Trey Radel avoided jail time on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a charge of cocaine possession in D.C.. The congressman will go on one year of probation, and indicated that he was seeking treatment. Radel was caught by law enforcement officials in an undercover drug sting. Radel, apparently, was targeted by investigators after a suspected cocaine dealer told DEA and FBI officials that one of his clients was a Florida representative. 

That dealer then agreed to participate in a sting on October 29th, during which Radel purchased cocaine from an undercover agent. He purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250 — handing the officer $260 — at a D.C. restaurant, according to the details of the arrest read in court. Investigators then went to Radel's house, but did not formally arrest him, handcuff him, or take him to jail. Instead, he was informed of the set up. The congressman was charged with a misdemeanor on Tuesday as a result of a  D.C. Superior Court Grand Jury indictment. Shortly after, he apologized for his actions, adding "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice." He has promised to seek treatment. 

House Speaker John Boehner released a statement responding to the charges. It doesn't call for Radel's resignation: 

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

Radel will seek treatment in Florida. If he breaks probation, he could go to jail for up to 180 days. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.