A Brooklyn drug dealer has pleaded guilty to supplying The Wire actor Michael K Williams with fentanyl-laced heroin, which caused his death.
Irwin Cartagena’s plea to conspiracy to distribute narcotics was filed in Manhattan federal court. Sentencing by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams is scheduled for Aug. 18, with Cartagena facing a minimum of five years in prison and up to 40 years in prison.
The famous actor, who has also appeared in films and other TV series, including Boardwalk Empire, overdosed in September 2021 in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment.
Authorities said he died on a Brooklyn street hours after buying heroin from Cartagena in a transaction caught on security camera.
Cartagena, 39, signed an indictment with prosecutors alleging that the mixture of heroin and fentanyl he sold to Williams led to his death. His attorney, Sean Maher, declined to comment.
US Attorney Damian Williams, who is not related to the actor, said in a statement that the sale took place “in broad daylight in New York, fueling addiction and causing tragedy.”
“In doing so, he overcame the fatal dose that killed Michael K Williams,” Mr Williams said.
Prosecutors say Cartagena and his alleged co-conspirators continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin around apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan even after learning of the actor’s death.
Another accused in the case pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Williams’ death came despite an investigation by the New York Police Department, which placed a paid informant on the same block where Williams was buying controlled heroin.
The next day, the informant returned to buy more drugs from the same group and recorded a conversation in which some of them talked about Williams’ overdose. One denied selling any drugs containing fentanyl.
Williams’ “punty boy” character, Omar Little, on The Wire, a fictional look at the Baltimore roots that ended in 2008 but remains popular on the stream, is based on a real-life character.
She created another classic character as Kalki White on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and also appeared in 12 Years A Slave, Assassin’s Creed and more.
In interviews, Williams has spoken about his battles with addiction.