ROCKLAND — A New York man made his initial court appearance Oct. 6 on a charge that he mailed 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 appeared Oct. 6 via Zoom for a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Portland. Judge John Rich III set bail at $25,000 unsecured. Bail conditions include that Dean refrain from criminal activity, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs, have no contact with witnesses or families of the victims, and only leave New York state for attending court hearing.

Judge Rich appointed Heather Gonzales to represent Dean. Dean is unemployed and receives disability payments.

He entered no plea since he was only charged by the filing of a criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A federal grand jury has not yet heard the case.

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 in 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Nathans is prosecuting the case.