A longtime personal aide to Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) was charged Thursday in Washington with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Fred W. Pagan, who is 49 and earned $160,000 last year as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, was charged by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson released Pagan on his own recognizance after an initial court appearance Friday afternoon, at which Pagan said he would retain his own lawyer. Pagan could not be immediately reached for comment.

Later Friday, a grand jury indicted Pagan on one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, which is punishable by a prison sentence of at least five and up to 40 years, and one count of importation of a controlled substance, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. His next court date is May 14.

Cochran's office said in a statement Friday evening that the senator is "disturbed and deeply saddened" by the matter and that Pagan is suspended of all duties pending the outcome of the case. 

Pagan is the third-highest-paid member on Cochran’s staff of roughly 30, according to congressional records available at Legistorm.com. He is registered to vote as a Democrat, according to D.C. records.

According to an affidavit filed with the court, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers detected the drug gamma-butyrolactone, or GBL, in a DHL package from China addressed to Pagan’s home in Northwest Washington on April 9.

GBL, said to build muscle, enhance love-making abilities and aid sleep, breaks down into the “date rape” party drug gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB. Both are controlled substances. The package, addressed to “Longevity Concepts LNC, Fred Pagan,” weighed about 1.1 kilograms and was intercepted at a DHL facility in Cincinnati, Waugh said in an affidavit.

On April 23, D.C. police detectives and agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arm served an early morning search warrant on Pagan’s home in the 5700 block of Colorado Avenue NWh. They found plastic bags with about 181.5 grams of a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Special Agent Mark Waugh of the Department of Homeland Security.

The ICE agent said Pagan stated he had received three previous shipments of GBL and knew it was illegal. Pagan said his distributor had him receive the methamphetamine from California to avoid detection, Waugh said, adding that “Pagan stated that he intended to distribute both the GBL and methamphetamine in exchange for sexual favors.”

In a 2006 profile in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, a former teacher of Pagan’s wrote that Pagan has worked for Cochran since Pagan was 16 years old. Pagan reportedly completed high school studies through correspondence and did not attend college, working as a page, then intern and office manager.

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