If you were a sitting member of Congress, you’d think you would be cautious about doing drugs with strangers. But then you wouldn’t be Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL).
Radel on Wednesday pleaded guilty in Washington, D.C. Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge of possession of cocaine. And court papers filed Wednesday provided more details about just how a congressman got snared.
Here’s what happened: not long ago, federal agents investigating drug dealing in Washington, D.C. learned that Radel had been buying cocaine. So they set up sting.
On Oct. 29, Radel met an acquaintance and an undercover police officer at a restaurant in Dupont Circle. Radel told both people that he had cocaine at his apartment, and invited both of them over to do some. They declined.
But the undercover officer then told Radel he had some cocaine for sale.
After discussing the price, Radel agreed to buy 3.5 grams for $250 from the officer. The pair left the restaurant, and went to the officer’s car to complete the deal. Once he was outside the car, Radel was approached by federal agents. He dropped the drugs he’d just bought on the street, but then began cooperating. He invited the agents to his apartment, admitted that he bought the cocaine, and also handed over a vial of cocaine he had in his apartment.
On Wednesday, Radel was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine to a victims’ compensation fund. If Radel breaks probation, he faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If he successfully completes the probation, the court would then dismiss the case.
After his court hearing, Radel rushed out of the courtroom without saying a word to a horde of assembled reporters. He got into a minivan waiting outside the courthouse, and it drove away.
Read the court document:
Additional reporting by Sahil Kapur.
This post has been updated.