FARMINGTON — A Wilton man agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute 40 or more grams of fentanyl, according to a document filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Dennis Ayala

Dennis Ayala’s daughter, Andrea Hoffman, 35, also of Wilton, pleaded guilty to the same charge Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, according to U.S. District court documents.

Ayala, 55, and Hoffman are two of four co-defendants arrested last year in the case who are accused of conspiring with others to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, the highly addictive opioid fentanyl in Maine beginning from at least March 2018.

A conviction on the federal charge is punishable by between five and 40 years, a maximum fine of $5 million and a minimum term of supervised release of four years.

Ayala is expected to plead guilty later this month.

According to the federal prosecution version of the case against Ayala, on May 22, 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration received information that Ayala was arranging the purchase of fentanyl from Massachusetts to Maine.

The DEA coordinated a traffic stop of an acquaintance of Ayala’s by Maine State Police on Interstate 95 in Maine. The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle. A search of the vehicle produced two plastic baggies that subsequently were determined by a chemist to be 196.9 grams of fentanyl, according to U.S. District Court documents.

Ayala “intended to distribute a portion of the fentanyl that law enforcement seized during the traffic stop.”

Investigators arrested Ayala on May 22 and the following morning, not realizing that law enforcement had seized the fentanyl, Ayala contacted Hoffman and asked her to retrieve the fentanyl from his associate, according to the court document.

Hoffman “then engaged in a series of text message communications with the associate in an effort to recover the fentanyl,” according to the prosecution version.

Ayala also faces Maine opioid drug charges.

C0-defendants Alberto “Papa” Luis Cruz, believed to be 32 when arrested in November, and Patricia “Mama” Pimentel, 24, who was arrested in August, both of Lawrence, Massachusetts, each face a charge of conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, 40 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing the opioid fentanyl, according to U.S. District Court documents.

Pimentel was also charged on a federal count of possession with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and aided and abetted such conduct last May.

The charge carries a prison sentence of between five and 40 years. Both Cruz and Pimentel have pleaded not guilty to charges and await trial on April 1.

Ayala had faced the same charge, but it was dismissed when he entered the agreement to plead guilty.
All four co-defendants remain in federal custody.

 

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