FARMINGTON — A Wilton man pleaded not guilty June 27 to a two-count federal indictment in U.S. District Court charging conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin and fentanyl.

Dennis Ayala, 55, was indicted by a federal grand jury June 21 on felonies of conspiracy to distribute and possess a controlled substance, namely heroin, and fentanyl, according to a court document.

Fentanyl, is an opioid used to relieve pain and also made illegally as a recreational drug, often mixed with heroin or cocaine.

Ayala was also indicted on a charge that he knowingly and intentionally aided and abetted the possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to the document.

A conviction on each charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

A trial is tentatively scheduled for early August.

Ayala retained Walter McKee of Augusta as his attorney.

“I just received a pile of reports today and given the magnitude of the case, suffice to say it is going to be a while before decisions are made about how best to proceed,” McKee wrote in an email Monday.

Ayala is in federal custody.

Ayala, a convicted drug dealer, was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury June 28 on a charge of dealing crack cocaine from his home on Temple Road in Wilton in April. The charge stems from an investigation by the Franklin County’s Sheriff’s Office into the fatal drug overdose of a Wyman Township man last spring.

Investigators received information leading them to Ayala’s residence, where police seized $6,628 in cash believed to be drug money, scales, crack cocaine, heroin and “numerous other items related to illicit drug use, packaging and sale,” according to Detective Stephen Charles’ affidavit.

Ayala posted $5,000 cash bail and was released April 20 from the Franklin County Detention Center.

After an unsuccessful attempt to do a bail check on him May 23, Maine State Police got a search warrant and found Ayala in his attic with marijuana plants, according to a court document. He was charged with felony unlawful possession of a drug that contained fentanyl powder and two misdemeanor charges of violating bail.

Ayala’s bail in the May 23 case was set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 single surety.

He was arrested on a federal warrant June 7. The case against him, including a complaint and warrant for his arrest, was sealed May 25. It was unsealed on June 7. 

Ayala was convicted June 2, 1997, in Kennebec County of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs.

[email protected]

Dennis Ayala (Franklin County Sheriff’s Office)

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