Four men, charged with selling drugs to late actor Michael K Williams, were arrested on Wednesday, according to a US district court filing. Williams was found dead in his Brooklyn, New York penthouse in September 2021.
Irvin Cartagena, 39, Hector Robles, 57, Luis Cruz, 56, and Carlos Macci, 70, were arrested and charged with a narcotics conspiracy that resulted in the death of Williams by consumption of fentanyl-laced heroin. The charge carries a mandatory prison term between 5 and 40 years.
Cartagena, who is said to have personally given the fentanyl-laced heroin to Williams, is charged with causing the actor’s death. His potential prison term ranges from a minimum of 20 years to life imprisonment.
“Deadly opioids like fentanyl and heroin don’t care about who you are or what you’ve accomplished. They just feed addiction and lead to tragedy. The Southern District of New York and our law enforcement partners will not give up. We will bring every tool to bear. And we will continue to hold accountable the dealers who push this poison, exploit addiction, and cause senseless death,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
The court document added screenshots from a surveillance video, which showed the hand-to-hand transaction between Cartagena and Williams.
Even after the actor’s death, the four men allegedly continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin in Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to the prosecution.
The 54-year-old actor, who was renowned for his role as Omar Little in the HBO show The Wire, was found dead in his apartment by a relative after he failed to turn up for an event. While the cause of death was suspected to be heroin overdose, it was only confirmed later.
The five-time Primetime Emmy nominee had earlier opened up about his struggles with narcotics during a conversation with NPR in 2016 and said that he could not separate his character Omar, who stole from drug dealers, from reality.
Apart from The Wire, Williams made brief appearances in shows like Boston Legal, The Sopranos, Law and Order, Human Giant, and Third Watch. His film work included roles in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave and Inherent Vice (2014).