Top Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Dealer of Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Sold to Michael K. Williams Sentenced to 10 years for for Conspiring to Distribute Heroin, Fentanyl, and Fentanyl nalogue

On August 20th the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that a Brooklyn man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling fentanyl-laced heroin to actor and producer Michael K. Williams who was best known for his role as Omar Little in the HBO Series “The Wire.”

Irvin Cartagena, 40, also received an additional five-year sentence of supervised release for conspiring to distribute heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogue. Cartagena, one of four men charged with being part of a drug-trafficking ring, also known as “Green Eyes,” sold the deadly fentanyl-laced heroin to Williams.

According to the New York City’s Department of Health, Fentanyl was found in 80% of all New York City drug overdose death cases in 2021. Fentanyl, an opioid, is considered 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

“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,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

Williams was found dead in his New York City apartment in 2021 in what the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled an accidental overdose. He was only 54.

Michael K. Williams was best known for playing Omar on ‘The Wire’ and Chalky White on ‘Boardwalk Empire.’

In a 2008 and 2016 Interviews with NPR, Williams told Terry Gross the story behind the scar on his face and about his background in dance. He reflected on his lucky breaks and what it was like to leave Omar behind. “When ‘The Wire’ and the character of Omar ended, I had zero tools, personally speaking, in how to deal with letting that go. … I didn’t equip myself with the tools of how to wash that off my psyche.”

Listen to the interview

What are state charges in Massachusetts for Fentanyl Trafficking?

Fentanyl is a Class A drug in Massachusetts. Possession of over 10 grams of fentanyl can be charged as drug trafficking and can result in 3 and a half to 20 years in prison.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and 100 grams or more of p-Fluorofentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million.

According to preliminary data released at the end of June by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health the Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts increased by 2.5 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, with rates among Black, non-Hispanic residents making up the largest increase.

What are Federal Fentanyl Trafficking Laws?

Federal fentanyl trafficking is charged when the quantities involved are large and the drug is distributed beyond state lines or federal agents make arrests. Federal fentanyl trafficking starts at 40 grams, which can result in a sentence of 5 years or up to 40 yrs. If death or serious injury is involved, the sentence can be 20 years to life. Federal drug trafficking fines can be up to $5 million, for an individual or $25 million if not an individual. If the quantities are larger and the alleged operation is more sophisticated, the sentences can be more serious as in the above example, especially where fentanyl is allegedly carelessly used in lacing other drugs.

At Dhar Law, LLP, we have decades of experience fighting serious drug trafficking crimes in state and federal court. Our strategy is to build a robust defense that holds prosecutors and law enforcement accountable and defends your rights. If you have been charged with a serious drug offense like fentanyl trafficking or federal fentanyl trafficking it’s advisable to reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Dhar Law, LLP, our staff are immediately available to process urgent inquiries. We provide translation services in multiple languages to ensure you know your rights and can navigate the criminal justice system. If you or someone you know has been charged with a serious crime like fentanyl trafficking, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Contact our office today at 617 880-6155 to speak with our knowledgeable fentanyl trafficking lawyers in Boston.


Have you or a family member been charged or arrested? It’s important not to make mistakes early on in your case. Download our PDF on the top 3 things to do to help your defense or if you have been arrested by the State Police or FBI or you are the subject of an FBI Arrest Warrant.

Get Dhar Law

Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
Abstract gradientAbstract gradientAbstract gradientAbstract gradient