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Irvin Cartagena, 39, sold the fatal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin that resulted in the 2021 drug overdose death of “The Wire” star Michael K. Williams. Cartagena pled guilty Wednesday to multiple drug charges, the Justice Department announced. 

Cartagena, who also goes by the name “Green Eyes,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogue, according to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

As part of a plea deal, Cartagena agreed that some of the drugs he sold resulted in the death of Williams, according to CBS News.

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On Sept. 6, 2021, Williams was found dead at the age of 54 in his home in Brooklyn, New York. One day prior to his death, on Sept. 5, Williams directly purchased heroin laced with fentanyl from Cartagena in a “hand-to-hand transaction,” prosecutors said.   

“Irvin Cartagena sold fentanyl-laced heroin in broad daylight in New York City, feeding addiction and causing tragedy,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “In doing so, he dealt the fatal dose that killed Michael K. Williams.”

Cartagena was a member of a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) which operated in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg between August 2020 and February 2022, according to prosecutors. 

“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,” prosecutors said. 

In February of 2022, Cartagena and three other men were arrested in connection to Williams’ death. 

Cartagena faces a sentence of anywhere from five to 40 years in prison, according to the attorney’s office.     

Fentanyl continues to ravage American communities

According to the CDC, 107,375 people in the United States died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022. A staggering 67 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. 

Some of these deaths were attributed to fentanyl mixed with other illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, with many users unaware they were actually taking fentanyl. Only two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose; it’s particularly dangerous for someone who does not have a tolerance to opioids.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

May 10 is National Fentanyl Awareness Day, which aims to amplify nationwide efforts to increase awareness and decrease demand for fentanyl.

Naxolone is a life saver in the face of fentanyl

For those struggling with opioid addiction, Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose by attaching to opioid receptors and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids.

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Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose and could save the life of anyone experiencing an overdose.

Available without an individual prescription nationwide, naloxone, also known as NARCAN®, is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses. CVS Pharmacy® locations nationwide have naloxone on hand and can dispense it the same day or order for the next business day.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...