Pittsfield man's drug charges dismissed, pleads guilty to shoplifting


PITTSFIELD -- A city man who was arrested in March for shoplifting $7 worth of merchandise from a convenience store and was found to have $30,000 in cash and prescription pills in his pockets had drug charges dismissed on Monday by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office without explanation.

Brent T. Leonesio, 36, of West Street, had been facing felony charges of illegal possession of clonazepam, a muscle relaxant, and suboxone, an opioid, with the intent to distribute. In April, he pleaded guilty to a single count of misdemeanor shoplifting as a third offense and was fined $500.

On Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, the DA's office asked that the drug charges be dismissed. The paperwork on file in the clerk's office does not indicate why the charges were dropped.

The defendant's attorney, David C. Cafarelli, said he wasn't old why the case was dismissed. He called the prosecution's case "weak" and said his client could show he had the right to have the prescription pills and the money. He said the $30,000 has not been returned to his client as of Tuesday.

Leonesio was arrested by the Pittsfield Police on the morning of March 15 after a clerk at the Cumberland Farms store on First Street caught Leonesio stuffing a 16-ounce Coffee Mate drink into his pants, according to a police report.

The clerk told police that Leonesio had previously shoplifted from the store and that his photograph was on a wall at the store to alert workers about him.

Police said when Leonesio was arrested there was a container of orange juice up his sleeve and $30,311 in cash in his pocket along with bottles containing 398 clonazepam worth $4,000 and 65 suboxone pills worth $1,000.

Leonesio allegedly told police the cash was student loan money and that he was a sophomore at Berkshire Community College.

According to the police report, while they determined the defendant was enrolled at the school, they said that financial aid disbursements aren't made in one lump sum.

The drug charges were brought in April following a police investigation. Leonesio has not been indicted on the charges and it was unclear whether the DA's Office intends to take the case to the grand jury.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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