(Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube/Congressman Trey Radel)
Hip-hop loving freshman GOP congressman from Florida Trey Radel, 37, who once boasted he would "kill it" in an old school rap battle with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was busted buying cocaine during a federal investigation into a Washington, D.C. drug ring last month and has been charged with cocaine possession.
A senior Drug Enforcement Administration official who was not authorized to speak with the media, told the USA Today that a drug dealer arrested during the operation revealed that one of his cocaine customers was a congressman. Acting on that information, federal agents organized a buy on Oct. 29 and Radel took the bait.
Radel was later detained by FBI agents at his apartment according to the official. He was never handcuffed or taken to jail and he hired a defense lawyer who negotiated charges with a prosecutor.
He is expected to face a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge Wednesday in the District of Columbia Superior court for "unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally" possessing "a quantity of cocaine" according to official court documents. The crime attracts a maximum of 180 days in prison and/or a fine of $1,000, according to the report.
In a statement Tuesday, Radel expressed contrition for his actions and says he would be seeking treatment for alcoholism. There was no mention of treatment for a cocaine addiction.
"I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida," said the congressman.
"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," he explained.
"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. 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," he added.
In a YouTube video published in May, the former radio host, TV reporter and newspaper owner who represents Florida's 19th Congressional District explained that the rap song "Fight the Power" by 1980s hip-hop group Public Enemy reflects how he feels about what happens on Capitol Hill.
"This is a song that came out, if you really, really get down to it in many ways, reflects the conservative message of having a heavy-handed federal government… Chuck D of Public Enemy and I may disagree on certain philosophies of government but I think at the end of the day, and this is where I take my love of hip-hop music of where you can see where there have been issues and problems with heavy handed, either law enforcement, like the Department of Justice that we have seen right now or heavy handed government in itself.
"But what I believe in me as a lover of hip-hop especially in older school hip-hop from so-called gangsta rap to Big Daddy Kane, and Eric B. & Rakim who I have a huge affinity for especially that New York Rap that in listening to some of this music as musicians and artists have done for generations. What they do is open the eyes of people from maybe different walks of life," he said.