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Ex-Cochran Aide Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy

Cochran heads to the Senate floor for a vote on July 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The former aide to Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran who was arrested as part of a sex-for-drugs scheme pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.  

Fred Pagan, 49, admitted in federal court just a few blocks from the Capitol that from February until he was arrested in April, he participated in a scheme to possess and distribute meth and assist others in possessing the drug.  

On April 23, Homeland Security Investigations agents raided Pagan's home in Northwest D.C. after law enforcement intercepted a package of the date rape drug gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, which was shipped to the address from China. During the raid, the agents also discovered meth in a tightly wrapped package in a binder underneath his bed. In earlier court documents, Pagan allegedly told authorities he had planned to elicit sexual favors in exchange for the GBL and the meth.  

Pagan was originally charged with one count of possession and intent to distribute and one count of importing a controlled substance. In April, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and attorneys indicated in July that a plea deal was in the works .  

But Wednesday, Pagan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Pearlman declined to comment as he exited the hearing. And a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office also declined to comment on the change in charges, citing an ongoing investigation.  

Pagan and defense attorney Kobie A. Flowers did not comment as they left the courtroom following the plea hearing, which lasted around 30 minutes. During the proceedings, the gray-haired Pagan stood solemnly as he responded to U.S District Judge Beryl A. Howell's questions about his guilty plea.  

In questions about his competency, Pagan revealed has been receiving treatment for a meth addiction and takes daily medication. "I feel good," Pagan said when asked if the medication affected him. "That's what the medication does for me."  

According to court documents, Pagan admitted to knowingly and willfully conspiring "with other persons both known and unknown" to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, meth. The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on whether the revelation of a conspiracy  or that Pagan was working with other individuals  indicated there would be further arrests in the case.  

The statement of offenses obtained, which Pagan agreed to as part of his plea, cites two other individuals involved in the scheme, only identified as "Co-Conspirator 1" and "Co-Conspirator 2." According to the court documents, Pagan used meth from at least November 2014 until April 2015.  

In February 2015, Pagan agreed to obtain meth from "CC1" which was shipped to Pagan via "CC2." Pagan allegedy received one package of meth in February and four in March. He and CC1 arranged for CC1 to pick up the packages at Pagan's home, since the co-conspirator "in part wanted to avoid detection" for too many packages going to his or her residence.  Pagan was allegedly aware CC1 distributed meth to other individuals and also drove CC1 to the airport on at least two occasions where CC1 "traveled in part to obtain methamphetamine."  

Though there was no mention in the hearing of the date rape drug that prompted the federal raid, the statement of offense did address the GBL. According to the document, Pagan admitted to ordering GBL and to doing so on at least two other occasions. He also admitted to using GBL and sometimes selling meth to friends.  

The arrest cost Pagan his job, where he earned around $160,000 annually working as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, according to the LegiStorm database. Cochran's office dismissed Pagan on May 15, after he spent decades working for the Mississippi Republican. Pagan, a native of Jackson, Mich., first came to the Senate as a page for Cochran when he was 16 years old, and essentially never left. He reportedly finished his high school degree while continuing to work for Cochran, and confirmed in court Wednesday that he did not earn a college degree.  

By pleading guilty to the felony offense, Pagan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. He also could receive a term of supervised release of a minimum of three years and up to life. Pagan also agreed to pay a "special assessment" of $100 per felony conviction.  

Pagan was released under the same prior conditions that he continue treatment and return to court. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.  

Related: Former Cochran Staffer Hopes for Plea Deal in Sex-for-Drugs Case Senate Aide Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ to Drug Charges Cochran Staffer Confesses to Sex-for-Drugs Scheme, Feds Say See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.