Four members of drug crew arrested in connection with overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams

Famed actor Michael K. Williams, perhaps best known for his role on “The Wire” as Omar Little, a stick-up man that targeted drug crews, died of an overdose in September 2021 after using heroin laced with fentanyl.

Now federal prosecutors and the NYPD have worked together to arrest and charge four members of the drug crew alleged to have sold the tainted drugs that ultimately killed the 54-year-old actor, Fox News reported.

The four men arrested all face narcotics conspiracy and distribution charges, with the individual tagged as directly handing the drugs to Williams facing additional charges for causing the actor’s death.

Arrests made, federal charges pressed

A press release was issued Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that outlined the arrests of the four-man drug crew and the federal charges they now face.

The four men were identified as: Irvin “Green Eyes” Cartagena, 39; Hector “Oreja” Robles, 57; Luis “Mostro” Cruz, 56; and Carlos “Carlito” Macci, 70. All four are charged with “conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analouge, fentanyl, and heroin,” and face mandatory sentences ranging from five to 40 years in prison.

In addition, Cartagena, as the man who directly handed the drugs to Williams after receiving the actor’s money, is also charged with causing a death in relation to a narcotics conspiracy, which carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

“Michael K. Williams, a prominent actor and producer, tragically overdosed in his New York City apartment from fentanyl-laced heroin,” U.S. Attorney Damien Williams said in a statement. “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.”

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. 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.

An account of the investigation

The Daily Beast, citing interviews with members of the NYPD squad that investigated the death of Williams, published a fascinating account — almost as if ripped directly from an episode of “The Wire” — of how the NYPD cracked the case.

The investigators used license plate readers and surveillance cameras from across the city to track Williams’ movements on that fateful day in September 2021 and obtain clear evidence of the deadly drug transaction.

One particularly infuriating aspect of the account is the fact that Cartagena had been arrested in the same spot months earlier — and faced pending charges from a prior drug-dealing arrest before that — but had been summarily released back onto the streets due to the city’s progressive “bail reform” policies.

Hopefully, now that this drug crew is facing federal time with no parole, the residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood where they set up shop will find some peace, and the grieving family and friends of Williams will find some justice following his untimely death.

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