Four men have been arrested in relation to the overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams, according to the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office. A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday (Feb. 2) revealed Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department have charged 39-year-old Irvin Cartagena, aka “Green Eyes” with a narcotics conspiracy in which he distributed the fentanyl-laced heroin.
Another unsealed criminal complaint named Hector Robles, 57, aka “Oreja,” Luis Cruz, 56, aka “Mostro,” and Carlos Macci, 70, aka “Carlito” as co-conspirators in the fentanyl and heroin operation. Cartagena was arrested in Puerto Rico and is expected to be presented on Thursday (Feb. 3) in federal court in Puerto Rico. Robles, Cruz, and Macci are set to appear in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
According to the criminal complaint, since at least August 2020, a drug trafficking organization (DTO) has been operating in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, selling heroin laced with fentanyl and fentanyl analogue, which is defined as an often deadly alteration of the drug. On or around Sept. 5, 2021, members sold the late actor heroin, which was laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue. Cartagena is allegedly shown on surveillance footage making the transaction.
Williams was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 6, 2021. His cause of death was revealed as “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin, and cocaine.” Law enforcement claims that despite knowing that Williams died from the drugs, the dealers continued selling the product on the streets. According to Drug Abuse Statistics, 52.7 percent of all overdose deaths involve fentanyl.
“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,” expressed U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
His statement continued, “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.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell also made a statement, adding the following: “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. 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.”
All four defendants are 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. Cartagena is also charged with causing the death of Williams in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.