Thursday, February 3, 2022

Arrests Made in the Overdose Death of 'The Wire' Actor Michael K. Williams

Photograph by Eli Joshua Ade/ Courtesy HBO

Federal prosecutors have charged four men in connection with the death of actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his iconic portrayal of stickup artist Omar Little on the hit crime drama “The Wire."

As we reported last year, the talented thespian was found dead at the age of 54 in his Brooklyn penthouse Sept. 6.

Drug paraphernalia was found at the scene suggesting he may have fatally OD’d possibly from heroin or fentanyl, a theory that was later confirmed by New York City's medical examiner who determined he died of acute drug intoxication.

Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, said New York police officers arrested the men who are alleged to be part of a Brooklyn drug trafficking crew for selling Williams the lethal dose.

Photo Courtesy Department of Justice
Michael K. Williams purchasing drugs from
Irvin Cartagena.
According to authorities, a surveillance video captured the hand-to-hand transaction in which Williams bought the lethal dose one day before his death. 

The dealer was identified as Irvin Cartagena. The 39-year-old suspect had sold drugs to undercover informants for months prior to Williams' death according to a federal complaint. Cartagena was arrested in Puerto Rico and charged with a narcotics conspiracy, a federal crime.

Cartagena is expected to be presented in federal court there Thursday. Hector Robles, Luis Cruz, and Carlos Macci are the other defendants.

According to the criminal complaint, all of them "continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin in broad daylight" outside apartment buildings in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, "despite knowing Williams died after being sold the product." They will appear in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

“Michael K. Williams, a prominent actor and producer, tragically overdosed in his New York City apartment from fentanyl-laced heroin. Today, along with our law enforcement partners at the NYPD, we announce the arrests of members of a drug crew, including Irvin Cartagena, the man who we allege sold the deadly dose of drugs to Michael K. Williams," Williams said of the arrests. "This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop. 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."

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