Michael K Williams death: what happened to The Wire actor - as 4 men charged with ‘drugs conspiracy’

Michael K Williams, who died last year, was best known for his role as Omar Little on The Wire

A federal prosecutor has revealed that four men have been charged in the overdose of the death of actor Michael K Williams.

The four men in question have been accused of ‘narcotics conspiracy’, as they allegedly sold the fentanyl-laced heroin to the actor which would subsequently result in his death.

What happened?

Investigators in the case obtained surveillance footage which showed, allegedly, the men in question selling drugs to Williams on the street, the day prior to his body being found.

A statement from the Department of Justice (DoJ) said that since “at least in or about August 2020” a drug trafficking organisation (DTO) had been “operating in the vicinity of 224 south 3rd Street in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York”, selling “heroin laced with fentanyl”.

It said: “On or about September 5, 2021, members of the DTO sold Michael K Williams heroin, which was laced with fentanyl and fentanyl analogue, with [DTO member] executing the hand-to-hand transaction, as shown in the surveillance video.”

The NYPD obtained surveillance footage of the alleged drug deal (Photo: DoJ)

The statement added that “despite knowing that Williams died after being sold the DTO’s product, they continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin, in broad daylight, amidst residential apartment buildings, in Brooklyn and Manhattan”.

According to the Daily Beast, NYPD detectives handled Williams’ death as if it were a homicide.

Deputy Chief John Chell recalled telling detectives: “Treat this case as if Michael K. Williams was hit by a bullet. Make believe he got shot.”

Investigators employed the use of surveillance cameras across the city in order to trace the suspects.

What have the authorities said?

U.S Attorney Damian Williams said: “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 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.”

Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, commended the dedication of the NYPD in the case (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, added: “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.

“It is a level of dedication the NYPD carries out in every case, from beginning to end, in every instance where criminals peddle narcotics and prey on the innocent, and where people die from illegal drugs.

“I commend our NYPD investigators, working closely with their federal partners in the United States Attorney’s Office, in the Southern District of New York, for their work to clean up this long-embattled block in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and for their sustained commitment to follow every lead this case wrought, from New York City to Puerto Rico and back.”

Who has been arrested?

Sewell revealed that Irvin Cartagena (a.k.a “Green Eyes”), Hector Robles (a.k.a “Oreja”), Luis Cruz (a.k.a “Mostro”) and Carlos Macci (a.k.a “Carlito”) have been arrested.

The DoJ said that each of the men have been charged “with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analogue, fentanyl, and heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison”.

The DoJ added that Cartegena has additionally been charged with “causing the death of Williams in connection with the narcotics conspiracy” which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Cartagena was arrested in Puerto Rico on Tuesday (1 February) and is expected to be presented in federal court in Puerto Rico today (3 February).

Robles, Cruz and Macci were all arrested on the same day as Cartagena, and were scheduled to be presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D Aaron yesterday (Wednesday 2 February).

When did Michael K Williams die?

Williams, best known for his role as Omar Little on The Wire, died at the age of 54 in September last year following a drug overdose.

Longtime representative of Williams, Marianna Shafran, confirmed the news at the time, saying: “It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of five Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams.

“They ask for your privacy while grieving this insurmountable loss.”

Michael K Williams was best known as Omar Little in The Wire (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

A medical examiner ruled that the actor’s death was an accident.

Throughout his career, Williams talked openly about his struggles with drugs.

In a 2012 interview, he said: “I was playing with fire.

“It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my businesses ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail - or worse.”

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