A federal judge on Friday granted attorneys more time for the case of a 49-year-old man who spent decades working for Sen. Thad Cochran , starting with a stint as the Mississippi Republican's page, before serious drug charges related to methamphetamine and date rape drugs cost him his career.
Fred W. Pagan pleaded not guilty on April 29 to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and importation of a controlled substance, after allegedly confessing plans to distribute both drugs “in exchange for sexual favors.” U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell continued the case until Aug. 7, with attorneys hinting a plea deal may be in the works. "Productive discussions" are underway about a disposition in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Pearlman told Howell during a quick status hearing at the federal courthouse blocks from the Capitol. Further evidence still needs to be produced, including phone records and Drug Enforcement Administration analysis of some of the items found in Pagan's Northwest Washington house.
Federal agents raided his home on April 23, after authorities intercepted more than a kilogram of gamma-Butyrolactone, commonly known as GBL, in a package shipped to “Longevity Concepts LNC, Fred Pagan” from a business in China. The bust was part of a two-week investigation, according to court documents.
GBL produces euphoria, intoxication and hallucinogenic states, and allegedly acts as a muscle growth hormone. Odorless and colorless, the substance is also abused as a "date rape" drug, causing drowsiness, dizziness, loss of consciousness and loss of inhibition, as well as memory impairment — which can make prosecuting rape cases difficult when victims are given the drug.
Pagan said little more than, "Good morning," and, “Yes, ma’am,” during the brief proceedings. Neither Pagan nor defense attorney Kobie A. Flowers commented on the case.
Cochran’s office suspended Pagan of all duties when the senator learned of the arrest, and issued a statement saying Cochran was "disturbed and deeply saddened." A spokesman said Pagan was terminated on May 15.
Pagan earned about $160,000 annually working as Cochran's personal assistant and office administrator, according to LegiStorm. He also worked as a staffer on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Cochran chairs, and the Senate Agriculture Committee, which Cochran previously chaired.
At 16, Pagan was accepted as a page for the senator and he completed his high school studies through correspondence from the University of Southern Mississippi after being asked to stay on for a second year, according to a 2006 column in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “I guess I'm the page that never went home,” he told the writer.
Related: 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.