Four men were arrested and charged in relation to the overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams last September. On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Irvin Cartagena, the man who allegedly “sold the deadly dose” of fentanyl-laced heroin to Williams the day before his death. He and three other men were charged with narcotics conspiracy for the distribution of fentanyl and heroin.
A release from the U.S. Attorney’s office included screengrabs of surveillance footage showing Williams and Cartagena allegedly “executing the hand-to-hand transaction” the day before the Red Sea actor’s death. Williams died of “acute intoxication” from the effects of fentanyl, heroin, p-fluorofentanyl, and cocaine, at his Brooklyn home on Sept. 6. He was 54.
“This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop,” Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney behind the case, said in a statement. “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.”
Williams (no relation to the actor) added that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would “continue to hold accountable” those who “push this poison, exploit addiction, and cause senseless death.” The three other men — Hector Robles, Luis Cruz, and Carlos Macchi — were charged as co-conspirators. All four men will face a federal judge on Thursday, with Cartagena presenting in court in Puerto Rico and the other three men in Manhattan.
“Despite knowing that Williams died after being sold the DTO’s product, Cartagena, Robles, Cruz, and Macci continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin, in broad daylight, amidst residential apartment buildings, in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” the release read.
All four men were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, Cartagena faces an additional charge of causing the death in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a sentence of 20 years to life in person.
“As these federal charges show, the NYPD’s narcotics and precinct detectives in Brooklyn North lived this case, never relenting in their investigation until they could bring a measure of justice to Michael K. Williams and his family,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell in a statement.