ROCKLAND — A New York man was charged Sept. 22 with mailing fentanyl to a Rockland couple, who later died from an accidental overdose of the drug.

Tyler Michael Dean, 47, of Rexford, N,Y., was charged Sept. 22 with distribution of fentanyl. The U.S. District Court website states the maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Dean is charged with mailing fentanyl to the home of Freedom Hamlin Payor and Gabriel Payor on Hill Street in Rockland, June 13, 2020. The couple were found deceased later that day at the home. The cause of death was determined by the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office as accidental acute intoxication from fentanyl.

Gabriel was 26 and Freedom was 39 years old.

Rockland police began the investigation, and Detective Sgt. Alex Gaylor found Facebook messages between Dean and the couple. The messages make reference to sending a package to the couple. The detective sergeant also arranged for a telephone call from another individual to Dean, concerning the shipment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office took over the case, and the U.S. Postal Service along with Rockland police continued the investigation that led to the charge.

Dean is scheduled for an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Portland on Oct. 6 via a video hearing. The prosecution is seeking to issue a summons to Dean and bail will be set at that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Nathans is prosecuting the case. Heather Gonzales is the federal public defender representing Dean.

According to her obituary, Freedom grew up in Rockland and was a graduate of Rockland District High School, where she excelled academically and athletically. In her youth, she was an accomplished equestrian, taking home numerous blue ribbons.

She later attended Maine College of Art, where she polished her skills as a jewelry maker and painter. Freedom also received certifications in Philadelphia and Tucson. She often enjoyed going to area schools and sharing her craft with the children of Rockland.

She had a keen ability to craft jewelry that matched the person she was making it for, which brought great joy to many. Freedom and her mother owned a jewelry shop in downtown Rockland, where she loved taking her mother’s designs and bringing them to life.

According to his obituary, Gabriel was enrolled in the University of Maine and was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in biology, earning his status on the dean’s list this past semester. His dream upon graduation was to work towards helping people through naturopathic medicine, especially those suffering with genetic conditions.

He worked full time in construction for years with his fellow crew members, who, along with his boss, he considered his dear friends. Gabriel found his work extremely rewarding and looked forward to someday building his family their own home.