A New York drug dealer was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for supplying drugs The cable Actor Michael K. Williams using heroin containing fentanyl, which resulted in his death.
Irvin Cartagena, 40, of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, was convicted by US District Judge Ronnie Abrams. Cartagena pleaded guilty to drug-distribution conspiracy in April.
Williams overdosed at his Brooklyn penthouse in September 2021. He died hours after authorities said he bought the Cartagena-made heroin on a sidewalk in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, which was captured by security cameras.
Williams played Omar Little, the drug dealer robber on the HBO series The cablewhich ran from 2002 to 2008. In addition to his work on the critically acclaimed drama, Williams has also acted in films and other television series such as Boardwalk Empire.
Cartagena faced a mandatory prison sentence of at least five years and could have faced up to 40 years behind bars.
“I am very sorry for my actions,” he said before the verdict was announced. “When we were selling the drugs, we never intended for anyone to lose their life.”
Abrams noted that those who knew Cartagena said he was “helpful, humble and hardworking” when he wasn’t on drugs himself.
“I hope the treatment will help you move down a more productive and law-abiding path,” the judge said.
In a statement, US Attorney Damian Williams noted that those involved in selling the drugs to Williams already knew someone else had died from the drugs they were selling.
Prosecutors said Cartagena and others continued to sell fentanyl-spiked heroin in Manhattan and Brooklyn even after Williams died, though Cartagena eventually fled to Puerto Rico, where he was arrested in February 2022.
In a defense statement ahead of the sentencing hearing, Cartagena’s attorney Sean Maher said his client was paid to sell heroin on the street to fund his own use.
“In a tragic moment, it was Mr. Cartagena who handed the small packet of drugs to Mr. Williams – it could easily have been any other man who was there or nearby selling the same drugs,” Maher wrote. “Sentencing Mr. Cartagena to double-digit prison terms will not bring back the good life that was lost.”
Prosecutors had requested a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison in a motion, while the court’s parole division recommended a 20-year sentence after citing Cartagena’s 14 previous drug-related convictions, including burglary, robbery and prison escape.
However, Abrams said the recommendations were “just too high.”
“While this punishment is harsh, it is sufficient, but not more than necessary,” she said.