Michael K Williams photo

Authorities have announced the arrest of four men who are alleged to have sold heroin laced with fentanyl to the late actor Michael K. Williams.

Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Commissioner Keechant Sewell of the New York City Police Department announced that Irvin Cartagena was charged for narcotics conspiracy that “resulted in the death of Michael K. Williams.” A second complaint charged Hector Robles, Luis Cruz and Carlos Macci as co-conspirators with Cartagena. All four are in custody; the latter three in Manhattan and Cartagena in Puerto Rico.

On September 6 2021, Michael K. Williams “tragically overdosed in his New York City apartment from fentanyl-laced heroin,” US Attorney Williams said in a press statement. The four charged men were operating as a drug-dealing crew with Cartagena said to be “the man who we allege sold the deadly dose of drugs” to the actor.

The drug sale was actually captured on surveillance video, with Cartagena allegedly shown “executing the hand-to-hand transaction”:

“Despite knowing that Williams died after being sold the [group’s] product,” the US Attorney’s office claims, “CARTAGENA, ROBLES, CRUZ, and MACCI continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin.”

Williams found fame as an actor in “The Wire,” but had long been a dancer and choreographer deeply involved in the house music scene. In the 1990s he was a featured performer on tour dancing with vocalist Crystal Waters, and also performed professionally with Technotronic and danced in Washington Square Park.

“I loved the way he could transition from being a hardcore masculine hip-hop dancer into a very fluid, gazelle-like house dancer,” dancer Leslie Sear told Rolling Stone after Williams death:

The group would keep each other informed about auditions for videos and tours and dance until sunrise in clubs like Paradise Garage, the Tunnel, the Sound Factory, and Zanzibar. “You lived for the dance floor,” Segar says. “You lived to be in the next club.”


All four men are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analogue, fentanyl and heroin, with penalties ranging from 5 to 40 years. Cartagena is also charged with causing the death of Michael K. Williams, carrying a charge of 20 to life.

Photo via GabboT, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons