True Crime News Roundup: 4 Suspects Arrested In Connection To ‘The Wire’ Actor Michael K. Williams’ Overdose Death

Plus: The FBI is investigating a spate of bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities as a hate crime; and ‘RHOC’ star Elizabeth Vargas’ ex-boyfriend barricades himself inside her house.

February 05, 2022
A photo of Michael K. Williams, a Black male wearing a white button down shirt under a silver and blue brocade tux jacket.

Obit Michael K Williams

In this Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, file photo, Michael K. Williams arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Williams, who played the beloved character Omar Little on “The Wire,” has died. New York City police say Williams was found dead Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, at his apartment in Brooklyn. He was 54. In this Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, file photo, Michael K. Williams arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Williams, who played the beloved character Omar Little on “The Wire,” has died. New York City police say Williams was found dead Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, at his apartment in Brooklyn. He was 54.

Photo by: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Police accuse multiple suspects of peddling the drugs that caused the fatal overdose of actor Michael K. Williams.

Four suspects have been taken into custody in connection to the fatal overdose of The Wire actor Michael K. Williams late last summer, police said.

On Feb. 1, Irvin Cartagena, 39, was arrested in Puerto Rico and charged with a narcotics conspiracy for allegedly selling the actor a deadly dose of drugs, federal prosecutors in New York said.

Three of Cartagena’s Brooklyn co-conspirators, Hector Robles, 57, Luis Cruz, 56, and 70-year-old Carlos Macci, were also arrested and charged for their alleged involvement in the drug distribution crew.

Williams, 54, was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 6, and an autopsy showed he died after ingesting heroin laced with fentanyl.

According to police, a security camera near Williams’ home recorded Williams buying drugs from Cartagena the day before he died, the Associated Press reported.

Despite the suspects allegedly knowing their product killed Williams, they continued selling the “fentanyl-laced heroin, in broad daylight,” in Brooklyn and Manhattan, prosecutors said.

If convicted of causing Williams’ death, Cartagena faces between 20 years to life in prison, while the conspiracy charges against the accused carry a sentence of anywhere from five years to 40 years behind bars.

“This is a public health crisis. And it has to stop,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “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.”

More than 20 FBI field offices investigating a recent wave of bomb threats against historically black colleges and universities.

The FBI is investigating multiple bomb threats made against historically Black colleges and universities since the beginning of the year as hate crimes.

“Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats,” the agency said.

There have been no arrests, but investigators identified as many as six juveniles they believe are involved, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter.

According to the outlet, at least 16 HBCUs received bomb threats on Feb. 1 alone.

A woman days from celebrating her wedding was murdered in her NYC building by a resident with a history of violence, police say.

A bride-to-be was ambushed and brutally attacked in the lobby of her Queens, New York, apartment building by a woman infamous among residents, police said.

On Jan. 22 just before midnight, the suspect, Evelyn Cruz, 48, allegedly went after Jessica Britt, 33, when she was returning to the Sand Castle apartment complex in Far Rockaway, The New York Daily News reported.

The victim’s 34-year-old fiancée, Elizabeth Blue, told the outlet she witnessed Cruz plunge a knife into Britt’s chest multiple times.

“All you saw was the knife come down,” Blue recalled. “[Britt] was protecting me. [She] turned to me and spit up all the blood. I had to rip her clothes open to see the hole in her chest. I feel like I lost the best woman in the world.”

“I'm still waiting for her to walk in the door,” she continued. “[Cruz] deserves to rot in jail. The whole time I've been living in this building, everybody called her ‘Monster.’”

Cruz was arrested and faces charges of murder and possession of a weapon.

“This is an ongoing issue that should have been handled a long, long, long time ago,” one neighbor, Philip Thomas, 47, told The New York Daily News of the stabbing suspect. “I've told them that no one's going to do something until someone is killed.”

The Real Housewives of Orange County star Elizabeth Vargas’ home is surrounded by SWAT officers.

On Feb. 1, SWAT officers descended on reality star Elizabeth Vargas’ California home after her ex-boyfriend barricaded himself inside.

According to a Newport Beach Police Department statement obtained by People, emergency dispatchers received a call shortly before 2 p.m. for a wellbeing check at Vargas’ address. “Officers arrived on scene and observed an emergency situation that warranted the immediate evacuation of the victim from the residence,” officials said.

“Once inside the residence, police officers encountered an armed male suspect who was actively threatening the life of the victim,” officials claimed. “Officers took immediate action and placed the suspect into custody.”

Ryan Matthew Geraghty, 33, was arrested and his charges include assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and extortion, according to police. Two other suspects who were reportedly also in the home were taken into custody.

Geraghty allegedly threatened to release nude photos of Vargas if she did not give him money, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint, KCAL reported.

“Liz is completely traumatized, and spent the entire night with police,” the reality star’s manager, David Weintraub, told TMZ. “She is so thankful to the Newport Beach Police Department, and the officers who saved her from this terrible incident. She is looking forward to getting back to a normal life.”

Chicago police officer who served less than half his sentence for killing a teenager is released from prison.

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer sentenced to 81 months behind bars in October 2018 for the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald four years earlier, was released from prison on Feb. 3. The ex-con, who served almost half his time, was outfitted with an electronic ankle monitor and will be on parole for the next three years, WLS-TV reported.

Van Dyke’s sentence for the 2014 killing could have been decades longer had the judge sentenced the officer on the 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each time McDonald was shot — he was also convicted of, according to the Associated Press.

The city attempted to keep dashcam video footage of McDonald’s murder from the public, and Van Dyke was charged for the Black teenager’s slaying only hours before it was eventually released over a year later.

The video shows Van Dyke exited his patrol car and fired several times at McDonald, who was armed with a small knife. The officer then continued to shoot multiple rounds into McDonald for 10 seconds after the boy fell to the ground, the AP reported.

Joseph McMahon, the special prosecutor responsible for securing Van Dyke’s conviction and who sought a penalty of 18 to 20 years, said the convicted murderer’s early release doesn’t mean he wasn’t punished, KTXS-TV reported.

“I know this is difficult to accept, especially for minority communities marginalized by police and the criminal justice system for decades, but this [conviction and sentence] is a sign of progress,” he said. “Any length of time for a former cop is difficult. He was physically attacked, spent most of the time in isolation and that is the result of the very real danger he faced day in and day out for the last 3 1/2 years.”

Shortly before Van Dyke’s release, the victim’s grandmother, Tracie Hunter, pleaded at a press conference for the 43-year-old officer not to be freed.

“Please don't let this man out because he did a hideous crime,” Hunter said, according to WLS-TV. “Everybody knows that he killed my grandson...I'm not going to rest or be satisfied until this man does his rightful time.”

McDonald’s great uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, said that while Van Dyke’s sentence was incredibly inadequate, it was at least a significant step forward for victims of police violence.

“Had Jason Van Dyke gotten one day in jail it would have been a victory because he was the first," said Hunter. “Since then, police across the country are getting convicted of murdering Black people.”

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