City councilman pleads 'not guilty' to drug charges

Posted at: 11/06/2013 5:27 PM
By: Dan Bazile

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PITTSFIELD – A City Councilman pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday.

Paul Capitanio, 57, is accused of having oxycodone and tipping off his supplier to a drug investigation.

This was a very quick arraignment here at Berkshire Superior Court. City Council Member Paul Capitanio was in for about three minutes and was whisked away after pleading “not guilty” to the charges.

Capitanio didn't say much as he faced a judge -- answering to charges that accused him of tipping off drug dealers to police raids.

“Just because the police say something doesn't make it true. These are accusations,” said Timothy Shugrue, Capitanio's Attorney.

Police say Capitanio was drug addict. They say he was paying $300 a day for oxicodone to a drug dealer he tipped off to the raid. Court papers identified him as Joshua Stegemann of Petersburgh. According to the Berkshire Eagle, his home was raided back on April 30.

Authorities say they came up with more than 700 grams of cocaine, a pound of heroin, thousands of illegal prescription drugs, two guns and close to $300,000 dollars in cash.

“The State Police are taking their words based upon a known drug dealer and that's where these accusations come from. Not from any wiretaps or anything like that,” said Shugrue.

He adds that drug dealer is talking to get himself out of trouble. Meanwhile Shugrue says his client is no longer attending City Council meetings. But Mayor Dan Bianchi says he's still doing the people's business.

Capitanio has been coming to City Council meetings and to others as well.

But come January, Bianchi says that will all change when the new council member who was just elected on Tuesday night, takes over Capitanio's seat.

“People are trying to cope and also understanding of the fact people are innocent until proven guilty,” says Bianchi.

Bail was set at $500. Capitanio is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on January 16.



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