Florida Rep. Trey Radel Pleads Guilty To Cocaine Possession

Congressman admits his addiction and seeks treatment following charges.

ByABC News
November 20, 2013, 10:12 AM

Nov. 20, 2013 -- Florida Republican congressman Trey Radel appeared in a Washington, D.C., court today and pled guilty to one count of cocaine possession.

Radel, who admitted to being an addict, was placed on one year probation with "minimal supervision." He promised to seek treatment.

"Your honor, I apologize for what I've done," the congressman said to Judge Robert Tignor in a low voice. "I have hit the bottom ... I realize I need help and have aggressively sought the help... I am so sorry to be here. I know that I've let my constituents down, my country down, and most importantly my family, including my 2-year-old who doesn't know it yet."

Radel, 37, said he is seeking treatment so he can "be a better man, a better husband, and continue serving this country."

The freshman congressman was the target of an undercover sting operation, prosecutors told the court.

Radel, according to sources, first came on the radar of federal authorities when a suspected cocaine dealer under investigation by a joint Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI task force told agents that one of his customers was the Florida congressman.

According to prosecutors, confidential sources told authorities that Radel had purchases cocaine "on several occasions" for his own use, and "on occasion" would share that cocaine with others.

About 10 p.m. on Oct 29, Radel met a confidential source and an undercover law enforcement officer at a Washington restaurant, prosecutors said. At the restaurant, Radel told the two that he had cocaine back at his apartment and said they could go back and use some, according to testimony.

They declined the offer to share coke with Radel, but the undercover officer said he could sell 3.5 grams to Radel, prosecutors said. Outside the restaurant, Radel gave the undercover $260, and then inside a car, the undercover gave Radel the cocaine, according to prosecutors.

When Radel stepped outside of the car, federal authorities approached him. He dropped the bag of cocaine on the street. Radel admitted to authorities that he bought cocaine. Ultimately he and authorities went back to his apartment, where Radel retrieved another vial of cocaine and gave it to authorities, they told the court.

"What did you believe you were purchasing?" the judge asked Radel.

"A drug. Cocaine. I plead guilty," the congressman replied.

Radel's lawyer David Schertler told the court, "He has a disease... He recognizes that this isn't a problem that is going away overnight."

DEA Special Agent in Charge Karl Colder said in a statement after Redal's court appearance, We want young people to see the price people pay for drug abuse and trafficking in cases like this so they will resolve to live drug-free lives."

In sentencing Radel to probation, Tignor noted that the congressman it was a first-time offense and probation gives Radel and others like him an opportunity "to prove themselves."

ABC News' Jack Date contributed to this report