U.S. NewsCrime

Actions

Drug dealer pleads guilty in death of actor Michael K. Williams

"The Wire" actor died in September 2021 of an overdose after buying fentanyl-laced heroin from a dealer near his Brooklyn apartment.
Posted at 9:37 AM, Apr 06, 2023

A New York City drug dealer who supplied a deadly dose of fentanyl-laced heroin to actor Michael K. Williams has pleaded guilty.

The case dates back to September 2021, when surveillance footage shows Williams purchasing drugs in his Brooklyn neighborhood from Irvin Cartagena.

Williams, who is best known for his roles in the popular TV shows "The Wire" and "Boardwalk Empire," was later found dead in his apartment from an apparent overdose.

Cartagena, 39, was arrested in Puerto Rico last year and entered a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for lesser charges. 

The overdose-reversal drug Narcan nasal spray

FDA approves over-the-counter sales of Narcan

Narcan can reverse overdoses of opioids, including street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, and prescription versions including oxycodone.

LEARN MORE

Prosecutors said Cartagena and his co-conspirators were aware of Williams' death, but continued to sell the fentanyl-laced heroin around Brooklyn and Manhattan.

"This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. "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."

Cartagena faces a mandatory sentence of five years in prison with the possibility of up to 40 years behind bars.