Four men suspected of being members of a drug distribution gang have been charged in the overdose death of actor Michael K Williams five months ago.

All four were arrested on Tuesday and are in custody based on criminal complaints in federal court in Manhattan, including a defendant who was arrested in Puerto Rico, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and New York City Police Commissioner said. York, Keechant Sewell.

Three defendants were scheduled to appear for the first time in federal court in Manhattan to face narcotics conspiracy charges alleging the distribution of heroin containing fentanyl that led to the death of Williams, who rose to prominence in playing Omar Little on The Wire.

The New York medical examiner previously ruled that Williams, 54, died of acute drug poisoning on September 6. He was found dead by family members in his penthouse apartment. At that time, the medical examiner’s office ruled Williams’ death an accident.

The US attorney said the crimes and charges resulted from a “public health crisis”.

“And it has to stop. Deadly opioids like fentanyl and heroin don’t care who you are or what you’ve accomplished. They only fuel addiction and lead to tragedy,” the prosecutor said.

Ms Sewell said Brooklyn Police detectives “lived through this case, never letting up on their investigation until they could bring justice to Michael K Williams and his family”.

According to court documents, Williams’ death resulted from the sale of drugs by a drug trafficking organization that has been operating since at least August 2020 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Authorities said members of the organization sold the actor heroin with fentanyl added on September 5.

Court documents contained photographs, including one in which defendant Irvin Cartagena can be seen carrying out the melee transaction, authorities said. They added that the screenshots were taken from surveillance video.

It was not immediately clear who would represent Cartagena, 39, of Brooklyn, in court.

Authorities said the men continued to sell fentanyl-containing heroin in broad daylight from apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan, even after learning Williams had died from one of their products.