Michael K. Williams died at the age of 54 on September 6, 2021.
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that IRVIN CARTAGENA, a/k/a “Green Eyes,” was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for conspiring to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogue. As part of the conspiracy, CARTAGENA distributed the fentanyl-laced heroin that resulted in the death of Michael K. Williams. CARTAGENA pled guilty on April 5, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “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. Although their product had already claimed one life, Cartagena and his co-conspirators continued to sell potentially lethal fentanyl-laced heroin. This Office will tenaciously continue our enforcement efforts against unscrupulous drug dealers who distribute poison and exacerbate the scourge of the fentanyl epidemic.”
According to the allegations in the complaints, court filings, and statements made in Court: Between at least in or about August 2020 and February 2022, a drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”) was operating in the vicinity of 224 South 3rd Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
The DTO sold heroin laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue on the street in front of, and from an apartment inside of, the apartment building located at 224 South 3rd Street, among other places.
On or about September 5, 2021, in connection with the DTO’s drug sales, CARTAGENA sold Michael K. Williams heroin, which was laced with fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue. Williams died as a result of using that fentanyl-laced heroin.
Despite knowing that Williams died after being sold the DTO’s product, CARTAGENA and his co-conspirators continued to sell fentanyl-laced heroin in broad daylight amidst residential apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Irving Cartagena had previously been released without bail for an August 2020 crime.
CARTAGENA fled to Puerto Rico after Williams’ death, where he was ultimately arrested in February 2022.
Surveillance footage shows Cartagena allegedly completing a hand-to-hand drug sale with Williams the day before he was found dead.
Surveillance footage obtained by investigators shows Cartagena allegedly completing a hand-to-hand drug sale with Williams the day before he was found dead in his Williamsburg apartment on Sept. 6, with drugs and drug paraphernalia near his body.
“More specifically, the NYPD found, among other things: a white plate with white powdery residue on it, a straw on the plate, and several glassines that were marked with the stamp ‘AAA Insurance’ and scattered on and around the white plate,” the complaint said.
The residue was sent to an NYPD lab and tested positive for heroin and fentanyl, according to the complaint.
According to the federal complaint, Cartagena had sold drugs to undercover informants for months prior to Williams’ death.
In addition to Cartagena, the other three defendants also were known by their street names — Robles as “Oreja,” or ears, Cuz as “Mostro,” and Macci as “Carlito,” according to the feds.
The four men continued to sell the deadly drugs at residential buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan — even after learning their stash allegedly killed Williams, the feds said.
In fact, federal prosecutors said undercover informants made another drug buy from the dealers the day after Williams’ body was found.
In addition to his prison term, CARTAGENA, 40, of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Intelligence Analysts. Mr. Williams also thanked the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force New York Strike Force, the U.S. Marshals Service, the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, and the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance in this case.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Micah Fergenson and David Robles are in charge of the prosecution.