The drug dealer who was part of a gang that sold The Wire actor Michael K. Williams a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl has been sentenced to 30 months behind bars.
Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams handed down the sentence Tuesday for Carlos Macci, 71, who pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy in federal court in April.
Macci was a member of a gang that sold Williams ‘fentanyl-laced heroin’ on September 5, 2021, which the actor died from taking. He was 54 years old.
His accomplices, Irvin Caragena, Luiz Cruz and Hector Robles have also pleaded guilty in the deadly drug deal.
The Wire co-creator David Simon had begged for leniency in Macci’s case. But on Tuesday July 25, judge Abrams told the elderly convict: ‘Selling drugs like heroin and fentanyl not only cost Mr. Williams his life, but is costing you your freedom.’
Macci’s attorney argued in New York Federal District Court on Tuesday that he had been trapped in a cycle of drug addiction for decades.
Benjamin Zemen claimed that another prison sentence ‘will not help Mr. Macci, it will not help Mr. Williams and it certainly will not prevent the next overdose.’
But US attorney, Micah Fergenson pointed out that Macci had served time for his last four offenses and continued to use and sell drugs. He argued that time in prison could be ‘beneficial’ to Macci by keeping him away from drugs, Vice reports.
Abrams said she agreed with arguments on both sides, making the sentencing ‘especially hard.’
Still, she said, ‘after heroin-laced fentanyl killed Williams, Macci continued selling heroin laced with fentanyl.’
Through a Spanish translator, Macci told the judge: ‘I’m sorry for what has happened.’
Following his time in prison, Macci will have three years of supervised release, including one year in an in-patient rehab.
Several people close to Williams, however, had been pushing for a more lenient sentencing for the elderly man.
Earlier this month, David Simon penned a letter to the federal judge in which he described Macci as a vulnerable and semi-literate man.
He also claimed Williams would ultimately have taken responsibility for his own fentanyl overdose death, rather than blaming the dealer who sold him the substance.
‘I know that Michael would look upon the undone and desolate life of Mr. Macci and know two things with certainty,’ Simon continued in the letter, obtained by the New York Times.
‘First, that it was Michael who bears the fuller responsibility for what happened.’
The second, he wrote, was that Macci doesn’t deserve to be incarcerated after ‘struggling with a lifetime of addiction’, adding the dealer is ‘largely illiterate’.
‘No possible good can come from incarcerating a 71-year-old soul, largely illiterate, who has himself struggled with a lifetime of addiction,’ the letter read.
In court on Tuesday, Williams’ nephew Dominic Dupont also claimed: ‘Michael K. Williams was a person who believed in love, who believed in an opportunity for people to get themselves together.’
He said Macci’s situation ‘weighs heavily on me’ and said accountability and empathy could co-exist.
‘There are no winners here,’ the grieving nephew argued.
Williams’ death resulted in the arrests of four members of a suspected Brooklyn drug ring following a months-long investigation.
The alleged ringleader, Cartagena, was seen selling the laced drugs to Williams on surveillance footage from September 5, 2021.
He was previously arrested twice on drug-related charges but released under New York’s woke bail reform policies, and was arrested again in Puerto Rico five months after Williams’ death.
Prosecutors allege Cartagena peddled the drugs that killed Williams, and he was arrested with the three co-conspirators.
Officials said the four men were part of a drug trafficking organization since August 2020, operating in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Their ring primarily focused on fentanyl and heroin-laced fentanyl as they sold the drugs outside their apartment, where Cartagena, known as ‘Green Eyes,’ met up with Williams to allegedly sell him the drugs.