SCHENECTADY — A man with a long history of drug convictions has racked up another one, this time for selling heroin near a day care, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
William Hilts, 52, was found guilty Thursday of conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, as well as distribution, prosecutors said.
He now faces at least 10 years in prison and could potentially get a life sentence, prosecutors said. He is to be sentenced in September.
Hilts was accused of conspiring with a co-defendant to distribute the drugs in Schenectady from October 2015 until February 2016. Prosecutors said he sold drugs next to the day care.
Hilts’ former co-defendant, Elijah Jones, 30, described as Hilts’ nephew, pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiracy to distribute the drugs. Jones is expected to receive up to 10 years at his sentencing.
Hilts has been convicted three times for drug-related offenses: twice receiving lengthy prison terms. One of those terms was later reduced, due to drug law reforms.
In one prior case, in 2004, a Schenectady County Court jury convicted the self-represented Hilts of drug possession upon retrial, despite the main witness failing to show up.
Prosecutors won the right to have the witness’ testimony during the first trial read into evidence at the second trial, and the conviction was upheld.
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. He was sentenced to three years on that conviction. Records indicate he was released in July 2015.
The federal case was investigated by the DEA and the Schenectady County Sheriff's Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Wayne A. Myers and Joseph A. Giovannetti.