Congressman Pleads Guilty|to Cocaine Possession

     WASHINGTON (CN) – First-term Florida Congressman Henry “Trey” Radel pleaded guilty today to cocaine possession and was sentenced to probation.
     Radel, 37, a Republican, said in a statement Tuesday that he is alcoholic and will seek treatment.
     He was charged with possessing cocaine on Oct. 29.
     Radel bought 3.5 grams of the drug from an undercover officer outside a restaurant in Dupont Circle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.
     The Florida congressman came to the attention of authorities this fall during an investigation into cocaine trafficking in Washington, according to federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia. Authorities allegedly learned that Radel bought the drug for his own use and sometimes shared it with others.
     “Today’s guilty plea emerges from a broader narcotics investigation that brought to light information that a sitting member of Congress was routinely using and buying cocaine,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. “Once this information was confirmed, law enforcement could not ignore this illegal conduct.”
     Superior Court Judge Robert Tignor sentenced Radel to one year of probation. If he completes probation, the conviction will be erased from his record.
     Radel was elected last year with 63 percent of the vote in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, which includes Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs.

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