Four men arrested in connection with overdose death of Michael K. Williams, Justice Department says – The Washington Post

Four men were arrested this week in connection with the actor Michael K. Williams’s fatal drug overdose, New York authorities announced Wednesday. Williams, best known for his critically acclaimed turn as Omar Little in HBO’s “The Wire,” died in September at age 54.
The men were part of a drug trafficking group based in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, according to a Department of Justice news release. All four were charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 40. The man seen handing Williams the fentanyl-laced heroin in surveillance footage was also charged with causing his death, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.
“This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop,” Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “Deadly opioids like fentanyl and heroin don’t care about who you are or what you’ve accomplished. They just feed addiction and lead to tragedy. The Southern District of New York and our law enforcement partners will not give up. We will bring every tool to bear.”
Williams, also lauded for his roles in shows such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “Lovecraft Country,” was found dead Sept. 6 in his Brooklyn apartment. The New York City chief medical examiner’s office ruled his death accidental later that month.
“The Wire” co-creators David Simon and Ed Burns hadn’t intended for Omar to figure into the Baltimore-set show for as long as he did, but kept him on because of Williams’s powerful performance. Simon wrote in an essay published after Williams’s death that he “gave us an astounding gift — an act of faith from a magnificent actor who could have played his hand very differently.”
Omar was based on stick-up men Simon and Burns had encountered in real life, but Williams made the character his own. Washington Post television critic Inkoo Kang took note of Omar’s unexpected “tenderness,” a level of nuance and humanity the five-time Emmy nominee exhibited in other parts of life as well.
“Though earnest and forthcoming about his past struggles,” Kang wrote in an appreciation of the actor, “he often exuded a lightness in his public appearances that felt like the result of having come out of the dark.”
Read more:
Michael K. Williams, Emmy-nominated actor who brought charming menace to ‘The Wire,’ dies at 54
The ballad of Omar Little, Michael K. Williams’s enduring role
‘The Wire’ made Michael K. Williams an icon, but the rest of his work showed he was far more than just one role
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