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Press Release

Drug User Sentenced for Illegally Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

Burlington, Vermont - The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that Paul Lachapelle, Jr., 27, of Springfield, Vermont, was sentenced by United States District Judge Christina Reiss to time served followed by 3 years of supervised release for being a drug user in possession of a firearm. Lachapelle, Jr. previously pleaded guilty to the offense.

According to court records, Lachapelle Jr. was arrested on May 30, 2022, in Springfield, Vermont. That evening, Springfield Police responded to a possible burglary in progress at a residence. The report stated that the burglary suspect had a handgun holstered to his hip. Springfield Police encountered Lachapelle, Jr. and another person at the residence. After a brief conversation, law enforcement determined that Lachapelle, Jr. threw a handgun into a tall grassy area nearby. Springfield Police searched that area and recovered a .22 caliber revolver.  

Police interviewed Lachapelle, Jr. who admitted, among other things, that he walked onto the property and onto the breezeway of the house. Lachapelle, Jr. claimed he knew the homeowner, and that the homeowner would have approved of Lachapelle, Jr.’s actions. Lachapelle, Jr. initially denied possessing a handgun while admitting that he had a knife, but after police confronted him with the homeowner’s reports of seeing the handgun on Lachapelle Jr.’s person via the residence’s surveillance video, Lachapelle, Jr. admitted to police that he threw the handgun into the tall grass near his vehicle. Additionally, the investigation demonstrated that Lachapelle, Jr. consumed controlled substances on a daily basis from September 2021 through May 30, 2022. 

The case was investigated by the Springfield Police Department, Vermont State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Lachapelle, Jr. was represented by Michael Straub, Esq. The prosecutors were Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph Perella and Zachary Stendig.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.  For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit


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Updated March 20, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses