Four men accused of selling actor Michael K. Williams the fentanyl-laced heroin that killed him have been arrested and could be facing long prison sentences. Williams, best known for playing Omar Little in The Wire, died in September from what officials ruled was an accidental drug overdose. The 54-year-old was found dead in his New York City apartment. Irvin Cartagena, 39; Hector Robles, 57; Luis Cruz, 56; and Carlos Macci, 70, were arrested Tuesday and face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analogue, fentanyl, and heroin, CNN reports. The charge carries a sentence of between five and 40 years in prison.
Cartagena, who is accused of giving the drugs to Williams is also charged with causing the actor's death in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a sentence of 20 years to life, the Department of Justice says. Authorities say Cartagena was caught on security footage handing the drugs to Williams outside a building in Brooklyn. Prosecutors said the men had been under surveillance before Williams' death, the AP reports. Vials of drugs bought by an undercover officer days before the actor's overdose had the same label, "AAA Insurance," as vials found in Williams' apartment.
Authorities say Cartagena fled to Puerto Rico, where he was arrested Tuesday, after Williams' high-profile death, but the other three men continued to sell the same drugs from the same location in Brooklyn, even using the same area next to garbage cans to stash the narcotics, the Daily Beast reports. US Attorney Damian Williams said authorities will continue to use every tool available to hold dealers accountable. "This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop," he 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." (Read more drug overdose stories.)