Fla’s Rep Radel Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Charge

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“I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease,” Radel said in his statement Tuesday.

Radel appears to be the first sitting member of Congress charged with a drug offense since former Rep. Frederick Richmond, D-N.Y., was convicted in 1982 on charges of tax evasion and drug possession.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the allegations are a matter for the courts.

“Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family and his constituents,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

The Florida Democratic Party released a statement Wednesday calling Radel’s conduct “an embarrassment to his district and to the state of Florida” and saying he “should resign immediately.”

Radel was elected in 2012 to represent Florida’s 19th Congressional District, which includes the Gulf Coast communities of Fort Myers and Naples. He was a radio host before becoming a congressman. He identifies himself on his Twitter profile as a “Hip Hop conservative” and “lover of #liberty,” and his Twitter account has remained active in the past few weeks, including on the day of the bust.

Among the bills he co-sponsored during his freshman term is legislation that would allow a judge to impose a sentence below a mandatory minimum, including for drug offenses.

If Radel had been arrested in Florida with the same amount of cocaine it would be a third-degree felony punishable by five years in prison under state law.

(Photo: AP)

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