Washington (AFP) – First-term US congressman Trey Radel of Florida has been arrested for possession of cocaine, court documents showed Tuesday.
A form filed with Washington DC Superior Court says Radel, a 37-year-old Republican, will be arraigned Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance.
Radel issued a statement saying he was “profoundly sorry to let down my family… and the people of Southwest Florida.” He did not mention cocaine.
“I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice,” he said.
“I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.”
Radel cosponsored a law that seeks to end mandatory minimum sentencing requirements that often send people to jail with a conviction no worse than drug possession. He has also spoken extensively about the need to reform the way the United States copes with its drug problems, repeating that a “war on drugs” is not the way to tackle drug issues.
Radel’s views aren’t all about dealing with drug issues comprehensively, though. He said he opposed legalizing marijuana in a debate back in April.
But Radel can surely appreciate the importance of the nuance on drug policy as it exists now. He is lucky he was not arrested on cocaine possession in Florida, as one Miami Herald reporter pointed out, where it’s a felony. That would have cost him his right to vote.
AFP and Annie-Rose Stasser