Dealer Sentenced After Selling ‘The Wire’ Actor Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Which Killed Him

Samples of fentanyl at a police anti-drug laboratory. (Photo by JUAN PABLO PINO/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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A Puerto Rican man was sentenced Friday in a New York federal court for his role in the distribution of fentanyl-laced heroin which killed a film actor, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Irvin Cartagena, 40, of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release “for conspiring to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogue,” the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a press release. Cartagena, a.k.a “Green Eyes,” reportedly pled guilty April 5 to distributing fentanyl-laced heroin which killed Michael Kenneth Williams, an actor in the drama series, “The Wire.”

“On September 5, 2021, Irvin Cartagena sold Michael K. Williams a fatal dose of heroin laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue. Michael K. Williams tragically lost his life after using the drugs sold to him by Cartagena,” Williams said, per the press release. “Although their product had already claimed one life, Cartagena and his co-conspirators continued to sell potentially lethal fentanyl-laced heroin,” he added. (RELATED: World’s ‘Most Dangerous Drug Trafficker’ Hit With 45-Year Prison Sentence)

Cartagena was part of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) which peddled “heroin laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue” in broad daylight on a street in Brooklyn, according to court documents. He was arrested in a New York Police Department (NYPD) sting operation in February 2021 while on pretrial release from state charges arising from an arrest in August 2020 for possessing a rifle. He was charged and released on his own recognizance, per the documents.

Another sting operation in August 2021 involved an undercover purchase of heroin and fentanyl in paper bags or glassines stamped “AAA Insurance” from Cartagena’s drug syndicate. The NYPD found glassines similarly stamped and containing heroin, fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and diluents, including xylazine and caffeine, added to bulk up the drugs for increased sales in Michael Williams’ house in September 2021. The glassines were found while police were responding to a report of the actor’s death. Video surveillance footage screenshots showed the actor appearing to buy the drugs from Cartagena the day before the actor’s death, the court documents stated.

The U.S. Attorney’s office “will tenaciously continue our enforcement efforts against unscrupulous drug dealers who distribute poison and exacerbate the scourge of the fentanyl epidemic,” Attorney Williams said, per the press release.