U.S. Rep. Trey Radel is due in D.C. superior court Wednesday morning, charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession after an October 29 arrest, according to court documents.
The 37-year-old Florida Republican was arrested in a sting stemming from a broader FBI/Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of a drug trafficking organization in Washington, law enforcement officials told CNN.
The targets of the investigation are dealers and high-level people in the organization, not buyers and users. But agents learned that a congressman was a customer of one of the dealers, and so -- deciding they couldn't turn away from that -- they set up the sting, the officials said.
A spokesman for a U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday that conviction on the charges would come with a maximum 180-day imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both.
"I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida," Radel said in a statement released by his office. "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."
"However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. 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, serving his first term in Congress after winning office last November, is a former journalist and TV news anchor.
"Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts," a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said in a prepared statement. "Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."