Tea Party Rep. Trey Radel Busted for Cocaine Possession, Taking Leave of Absence

The conservative Florida "hip-hop" congressman was caught in a sting operation by the FBI and Drug Enforcement agents, but was only sentenced to a year of minimally supervised probation. 

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Rep. Trey Radel

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Updated, Monday, Nov. 20, 11:01 p.m. ET: Florida Rep.Trey Radel will be taking a leave of absence and donating his salary to charity the Washington Post reports.

Earlier:

Radel, who approved of legislation that would require all food stamp recipients to be drug tested, pleaded guilty Wednesday to possessing cocaine and was sentenced to a year of barely monitored probation, CBS News reports.

He escaped a maximum charge, which would have been 180 days in prison as well as up to $1,000 in fines. Radel, in addition to his pseudo-probation, will only have to pay a $250 fine.

The Tea Party favorite, who achieved some Twitter fame from his live-tweet review of Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail and calls himself the “hip-hop congressman” because of his love for rap, met misfortune when he reportedly went to buy drugs in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

What he did not know was that the person from whom he was purchasing 3.5 grams ($250 worth) of cocaine was an undercover agent. 

"I apologize for what I have done," said Radel, who entered an outpatient counseling and treatment program at the Executive Addition Disease Program in Washington. "I am so sorry to be here."

As the media frenzy began, Radel issued statements about the incident, speaking of the other addictions he has battled.

"I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice," the first-time congressman said. "Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.

"However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling," he added. "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."

Interestingly enough, just this year Radel co-sponsored a bill that gave judges more leeway in cases involving mandatory minimums, in addition to voting for legislation that would force food stamp recipients to prove that they weren’t on drugs.

Republicans have already begun distancing themselves from the incident, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) commenting, "Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family and his constituents."

Read more at CBS News.

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