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A man accused of dealing drugs that led to Michael K. Williams' death pleads guilty

The man accused of dealing drugs that led to the overdose and death of the late actor Michael K. Williams pleaded guilty to the charges against him Wednesday, according to court documents.

Irvin Cartagena, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of narcotics conspiracy resulting in death for allegedly selling drugs from August 2020 to January 2022, records with the New York Southern District Court show.

According to New York police, Cartagena was a member of a drug trafficking organization that frequented South 3rd Street in Brooklyn and often sold heroin laced with fentanyl, which Williams, 54, had taken prior to his death.

Surveillance video and license plate reader records show Williams driving to South 3rd Street and performing a "hand-to-hand exchange" with Cartagena the day before his death, the police said.

A New York police detective said on several occasions, an undercover police officer bought drugs from Cartagena on South 3rd Street, and the product packaging displayed various logos, including Gatorade, IKEA and AAA Insurance.

According to the complaint, when Williams was found unresponsive in his apartment in September 2021, police also found a paper bag, or "glassine," with the AAA logo. NYPD lab testing detected heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, lidocaine and caffeine in the narcotics.

"Despite knowing that Williams died after buying the DTO's product, the DTO has continued to sell fentanyl- laced heroin, in broad daylight, amidst residential apartment buildings," the complaint says.

Williams, raised in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, was best known for his role as Omar Little on The Wire, HBO's hit series in the 2000s that depicted the underworld of drugs and crime in Baltimore.

Williams later appeared in the series Boardwalk Empire, The Night Of and Lovecraft Country. Over his career, he earned five Emmy nominations. Williams was open about his personal struggles with drug addiction.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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