A city man with a long history of drug convictions is again facing drug charges, this time in federal court, authorities said.
William Hilts, 51, is facing four federal counts, including conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin and crack cocaine, according to an indictment handed up last week.
Hilts is accused of conspiring with a co-defendant to distribute the drugs in Schenectady from October until last month.
Hilts allegedly sold cocaine during an undercover operation in October and February, as well as heroin in December, according to the indictment.
His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Thursday.
Hilts has been convicted three times for drug-related offenses, twice receiving lengthy prison terms, one of which later reduced due to drug law reforms.
In one of those cases, in 2004, a Schenectady County Court jury convicted the self-represented Hilts of drug possession at a retrial despite the main witness failing to show up.
Prosecutors won the right to have the witness’ testimony during the first trial read in to evidence at the second trial and the conviction held up on appeal.
Hilts received 10 to 20 years in prison in that case, but his term was later reduced. He received a similar term in a 1990 drug case.
More recently, Hilts pleaded guilty to an attempted drug sale count in February 2013 for an offense that happened the previous year and received three years. Records indicate he was released in July 2015.
Hilts’ current co-defendant, Elijah Jones, 29, described as Hilts’ nephew, faces three counts, including the conspiracy charge and two sale counts.
Jones is accused of selling cocaine in October and heroin in November in Schenectady.
Jones has his own prior drug conviction for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance from 2006, records show.
Authorities initially charged the two in federal court Feb. 17. Their indictment was handed up Feb. 26. Both Hilts and Jones have been ordered held.