Anonymous law enforcement sources told ABC News that a suspected dealer under investigation by a Drug Enforcement Administration/FBI task force told agents Radel was one of his customers.
The DEA and FBI then set up a buy on Oct. 29, a law enforcement official told ABC News, where Radel allegedly purchased a small amount of cocaine from an undercover agent. The buy took place in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, according to the Associated Press.
Federal agents visited Radel’s home later that evening to inform the congressman that he had purchased the drug from a federal agent, the official said.
Although Radel was not arrested in the sting, prosecutors soon began negotiating with his defense attorney, according to ABC News and USA Today.
Radel was scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday morning to face a misdemeanor charge that could result in a maximum sentence of 180 days in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.
The congressman apologized to his family and constituents in a statement after being charged with possesion of cocaine.
“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. 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.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.