Freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) was charged with cocaine possession Tuesday, according to court documents, which allege that the congressman “unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally possessed” a quantity of cocaine on Oct. 29.
Radel is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court. In a statement Tuesday, he acknowledged that he has an alcohol problem.
“I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of southwest Florida,” he said. “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.”
Radel added: “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, 37, was elected to his first term last November, with 63 percent of the vote. He represents Florida’s 19th Congressional District, which includes Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Marco Island.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said the matter will be dealt with outside the halls of Congress.
“Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts,” Steel said. “Beyond that, this is between Representative Radel, his family and his constituents.”
If found guilty, the lawmaker faces a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Radel did not vote Monday evening when the House reconvened, but has been casting votes in recent weeks, including on the day of and the day after his arrest.
During votes last Friday, he told a Washington Post reporter that the past few weeks of debate about the government shutdown and President Obama’s health-care law had been “stressful” for his family.
Radel’s wife, Amy, and their young son have been splitting their time between Washington and Florida.
The freshman lawmaker is a former television news anchor and producer who held jobs in Texas and Illinois before moving to Florida. He has drawn attention for his love of hip-hop music and his pastime of mixing his own beats.
He is fluent in Spanish and has appeared frequently on Spanish-language media to discuss immigration reform, the budget debate and concerns about health-care reform.
Radel is also known for his irreverent, rapid-fire tweets about pop culture and — in particular — his “reviews” of the SkyMall catalogue during flights, posted with the hashtag #treyonplane.
On Oct. 24, he posted 13 photos of items advertised in the catalog, including a garden gnome, a wine holder in the shape of a high-heel shoe and a slingshot designed to shoot users across their back yard (“Yo. U see newest craze? Catapult ur self to certain death,” Radel wrote.)
On Oct. 29, the day of the alleged offense, Radel referenced this lighter side of his persona in a tweet: “Had some fun last few wks. Check out #treydome for look at tour of our Capitol. And for fun- #treyonplane Reviewed hilarious SkyMall mag!”
Radel recently co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses.
Ed O’Keefe and David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.