Four men charged in death of ‘The Wire’ actor Michael K Williams

"This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop.”

Four men have been charged in the death of The Wire actor Michael K Williams.

Williams died suddenly in Brooklyn, New York on September 6. The actor was best known for his role as Omar Little in HBO series The Wire, which he first played in 2002 until 2008. Williams also played Albert “Chalky” White in Boardwalk Empire from 2010 to 2014.

At the time, Williams’ death was ruled an accident by medical examiners but following an investigation by the New York City police department, four suspects have been arrested.
“Michael K Williams, a prominent actor and producer, tragically overdosed in his New York City apartment from fentanyl-laced heroin,” Damian Williams said in a press release viewed by The Guardian.

“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.”

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought the charges forward after the suspects had been under surveillance since before Williams’ overdose last September.

Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

A paid informant working for the NYPD had been making controlled buys of heroin near Williams’ apartment, while an undercover police officer also made a purchase several days before the actor bought his own dose, according to court papers.

New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said detectives in Brooklyn “lived this case, never relenting in their investigation until they could bring a measure of justice to Michael K Williams and his family.”

The charges against the four men, revealed to be Irvin Cartagena, Hector Robles, Luis Cruz and Carlos Macci, carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years.

David Simon, who created The Wire, penned a tribute to the star at the time of his death. The showrunner took to Twitter to post a tribute in the New York Times.

“A short remembrance for a talent, a genuine collaborator and a true friend. What I hope never gets lost is the awareness that Mike genuinely wanted his work to matter; not for fame or reward, but for leaving us all better humans in its wake,” he wrote.