Florida Rep. Trey Radel's arrest for buying cocaine off an undercover cop in Washington, D.C., is notable for many reasons. Not the least of which: The "fiscal conservative" appears to have significantly overpaid for his dope.* Yet another example of Congress wasting money.
According to the charging document, obtained by the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, Radel met with a man with whom he'd used cocaine in the past at a resturant in D.C.'s popular Dupont Circle area. They were joined by a third man, an undercover police officer. Radel invited the two to his apartment to use the drug, which the two declined. The officer and Radel discussed cocaine that the officer had for sale, with the congressman agreeing to buy 3.5 grams for $250.
The Wire called the Drug Enforcement Agency's Washington, D.C. office to get a sense for how reasonable a price tag that was. The cost "all depends on where you're at," the public information officer we spoke with told us, but that in Washington, a half ounce of coke goes for $450 to $600. That depends on a number of things, including quality, of course, but those are the going rates. (How does the DEA determine those figures? The agency has "different ways of finding out," we were told. They buy drugs undercover and use intelligence from dealers on the street.)