Photo aided in guilty plea to drug, weapons charges

PITTSFIELD — Fingerprints and an incriminating photo linked a Holyoke man to a loaded semiautomatic rifle recovered during a December 2016 drug raid in North Adams.

Varian Lefebvre, 24, was not in the Brayton Hill Terrace apartment when police executed a search warrant, but he was arrested about six weeks later, in a Williamstown motel room with nearly 300 bags of heroin and about $1,400 cash.

Lefebvre pleaded guilty to drug and weapons charges before Judge John Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday and was sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Lefebvre was the target of the investigation conducted by the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. The search recovered over 500 bags of heroin, as well as the loaded weapon in a bedroom.

Two other men, Kevin Smith and Henri Caudle, both of Holyoke, were arrested.

Police were told that the weapon belonged to Lefebvre and investigators were provided a photo showing him holding the weapon.

Fingerprint analysis matched Lefebvre's prints to those found on the weapon.

Investigators later learned Lefebvre was back in the Berkshires and, on Jan. 18, 2017, police raided his motel room and placed him under arrest.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano and Lefebvre's attorney, Raymond Jacoub, agreed on at least a 21/2-year prison sentence, only differing on whether the upper end of that sentence should be three or four years.

Jacoub argued for the lesser sentence, noting that his client was not present during the initial raid and did not have control of the weapon at the time.

Yorlano agreed that the case was somewhat unique in the sense that Lefebvre wasn't present to be linked to the weapon.

He said Lefebvre "got lucky" by not being there that morning, but, in spite of that, chose to return to the area weeks later to sell narcotics.

Yorlano said that, based on Lefebvre's record, he would benefit from being on parole for a longer period of time than the six months recommended by Jacoub.

Agostini agreed, noting that Lefebvre has a "significant" record for someone so young.

"If (Lefebvre) has any chance to change his approach to things, it will probably be because he will be on parole," Agostini said.

Lefebvre pleaded guilty to one count each of illegal possession of a large-capacity weapon, possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

Charges of conspiracy to violate drug laws, illegal possession of a large-capacity magazine and improper storage of a large-capacity firearm were dismissed by the state.

Lefebvre will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. He was given credit for 356 days spent in custody.

In November, Smith pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

The case against Caudle remains open.

Reach Bob Dunn at, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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