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Rep. Trey Radel Taking Leave Of Absence After Cocaine Bust

The Florida Republican announced at a news conference Wednesday night he will be taking a leave of absence after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

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"I knew that this day would come."

Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel announced Wednesday night he will take a leave of absence after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and being sentenced to one year probation.

The congressman said he would enter "intensive treatment" and donate his salary to charity in the meantime.

"I have let down our country, I have let down our constituents, I have let down my family, including my wife, and, even though he doesn't know it, I have let down my 2-year-old son." Radel said at a late news conference.

Radel pled guilty earlier Wednesday to misdemeanor possession of cocaine after buying 3.5 grams of cocaine, also known as an 8-ball, for $250 from an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer.

The congressman became the target of the sting operation after officers were informed Radel had bought and used cocaine on several occasions beforehand and that sometimes he would provide cocaine to others.

At his news conference in Florida late Wednesday, Radel said he has been struggling with substance abuse "off and on for years," but was confident he could overcome his disease.

"Sometimes in life you need a wakeup call," he said Wednesday night. "This is my wakeup call."

Jon Passantino is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jon Passantino at

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