On Wednesday (April 5), Irvin Cartagena pleaded guilty to one count of narcotics conspiracy resulting in death for allegedly selling drugs from August 2020 to January 2022 in a Manhattan courtroom. “I knew my actions were wrong and against the law,” Cartagena said to the judge in Spanish, with a translator aiding him. “I am very sorry for my actions.” The lesser charge means that he is expected to receive a prison term of 24 to 30 years as a result. U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said that the 39-year-old “dealt the fatal dose that killed Michael K. Williams.” in a statement.
Cartagena, also known as “Green Eyes,” was one of four men who had been charged in February with conspiracy to distribute heroin that had been tainted with fentanyl. They operated near residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, specifically the Williamsburg neighborhood where Williams bought the heroin from Cartagena on Sept. 5, 2021 according to the New York Police Department. Best known for playing Omar Little from the acclaimed HBO series The Wire, Williams was open about his struggles with substance abuse in the past.
The Emmy Award-nominated actor would be found dead the next day in his apartment due to “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluoro-fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine,” according to the chief medical examiner. His death didn’t deter the men from still distributing the drugs. Undercover detectives would record them still making more than a dozen deals afterward. An informant even asked if those drugs were the same as what killed Williams, to which the dealers denied that they were.
A nephew of the actor, Dominic Dupont, was present in the courtroom for the proceedings. He and his wife found Williams unresponsive on the day he died. “The reality is there are no winners here,” Mr. Dupont said to reporters. “Michael was an amazing human being and to lose him is something that we’re still grappling with. The grieving process continues for myself and for my family.” Sentencing for Cartagena will take place in August, while co-defendants Hector “Oreja” Robles and Luis “Mostro” Cruz have pled not guilty. Carlos “Carlito” Macci pleaded guilty on Tuesday (April 4). He is expected to be sentenced in July.