Drug dealer behind Michael K. Williams’ death pleads guilty

A drug dealer tied to the 2021 overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams could be facing up to 40 years in prison.

Michael K Williams

A drug dealer directly linked to the 2021 overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams has pleaded guilty, potentially facing up to four decades behind bars.

As per the Department of Justice press release, quoting US Attorney Damian Williams, “Irvin Cartagena sold fentanyl-laced heroin in broad daylight in New York City, feeding addiction and causing tragedy. In doing so, he dealt the fatal dose that killed Michael K. Williams.” The attorney elaborated on the effects, citing not just the tragic death of Williams, but the too-common instances of overdoses across the country. “This Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold accountable the dealers who push this poison, exploit addiction, and cause senseless death in our community.” According to the National Safety Council, fentanyl-related deaths saw an increase of more than 25% in 2021 from 2020.

Also quoting from the DOJ’s statement, “Members of the [drug trafficking organization] sold Michael K. Williams heroin, which was laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analog…Williams died as a result of using that fentanyl-laced heroin.” As per The Hollywood Reporter, “Authorities said [Williams] died hours after buying the heroin from Cartagena on a Brooklyn sidewalk in a deal that was recorded by a security camera.” The dealer, who pled guilty to “one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analog, fentanyl, and heroin,” faces anywhere between five and 40 years in prison.

Michael K. Williams passed away in September 2021 at the age of 54. His career went back to the mid-’90s, earning a reputation quickly within the industry. In 2002, he broke out as Omar Little on HBO’s TheWire, delivering one of the most memorable and championed characters in television history. Between his departure and his next-best HBO performance as Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire, Williams had a prolific career as a supporter for directors like Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, John Hillcoat, Todd Solondz, and more. He was also supposed to be in Solo: A Star Wars Story but was recast. His final posthumous release, Surroundedmade its world premiere earlier this month.

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