April 24, 2024

Elderly drug dealer sentenced to two and a half years in prison in overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams

An elderly drug dealer was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/2 years in prison in connection with the overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams.

Carlos Macci, 72, was among four men arrested on drug-trafficking charges in connection with the death of Williams, best known as the dreaded Omar Little in HBO’s “The Wire.”

Macci was sentenced to 30 months in prison, as well as three years of supervised release, and the first year in an inpatient drug treatment facility.

Williams, 54, died in September 2021 after consuming heroin with fentanyl. The day before, he bought the drugs from a member of Macci’s team in Brooklyn. The exchange was captured on surveillance video and New York federal prosecutors described it in court filings.

Macci and the other three defendants continued to sell the batch of fentanyl-laced heroin even after Williams’ fatal overdose made headlines, according to prosecutors.

Macci pleaded guilty in April to possession and distribution of narcotics.

His lawyer, Benjamin Zeman, asked for a suspended sentence citing Macci’s advanced age and hardscrabble background. He dropped out of school in the second grade, never learned to read and write and struggled with drug addiction for most of his life, Zeman said in court filings.

“Prior to his involvement in this crime, Carlos Macci led an unstable and aimless life involving drugs,” Zeman wrote in a sentencing memo. “He was as much a victim of the failed war on drugs as anyone. But we must also try to imagine the end of his story under the shroud of hope.”

New York federal prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Macci to at least four years to “reflect the seriousness of the offense” and “to deter the criminal behavior of this defendant and others who may sell deadly narcotics in the community.”

David Simon.Colin McPherson / Corbis via Getty Images file

David Simon, co-creator of “The Wire,” submitted a three-page letter to the judge asking for leniency for Macci. Simon had a close relationship with Williams, who was open about his struggles with addiction.

“No good can come from his (72-year-old) soul, mostly illiterate, who himself has struggled with a lifetime of addiction and is not in the business of selling narcotics at street level with ambitions of success and profit but as someone caught in the diaspora of addiction itself,” Simon wrote.

“Micheál would look at Mr. Macci and hope against hope that this moment in which he finds himself could be redeemed, that the years he has left could represent something else, and through the grace of love and mercy, that something humane and worthwhile could be saved from the tragedy.”

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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