An elderly drug dealer was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on Tuesday in connection with the overdose death of actor Michael K. Williams.
Carlos Macci, 72, was among four men arrested on drug charges in connection with the death of Williams, who was best known for his role as Omar Little on HBO’s ‘The Wire’.
Macci was sentenced to 30 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, including the first year in a drug treatment facility.
Williams, 54, died in September 2021 after consuming heroin with added fentanyl. The day before, he had bought the drugs from a member of the Maccis team in Brooklyn. The exchange was caught on surveillance video and described by New York federal prosecutors in court documents.
Macci and the other three defendants continued to sell the heroin batch containing fentanyl even after Williams’ fatal overdose made headlines, prosecutors say.
Macci pleaded guilty in April to possession and distribution of narcotics.
His lawyer, Benjamin Zeman, sought a prison sentence citing Macci’s advanced age and difficult background. He dropped out of school in the second grade, never learned to read or 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 had lived an unstable and aimless drug-fueled life,” Zeman wrote in a sentencing memo. “He was as much a victim of the failed war on drugs as anyone. But we also have to try to imagine a hopeful ending to his story.”
Federal prosecutors in New York asked the judge to sentence Macci to at least four years to “reflect the seriousness of the offense” and “deter future criminal conduct by this defendant and others who may sell deadly narcotics in the community.”
David Simon, co-creator of “The Wire,” submitted a three-page letter to the judge asking for clemency for Macci. Simon had a close relationship with Williams, who was open about his struggles with addiction.
“No good can come from the incarceration of a soul (aged 72), largely illiterate, who has struggled herself with a lifetime of addiction and who has not engaged in street-level narcotics sales with ambitions of success and profit but rather as someone caught up in the addiction diaspora himself,” Simon wrote.
“Michael would look at Mr. Macci and hope against hope that this moment he finds himself in might prove redemptive, that his remaining years might amount to something more, and that through the grace of love and mercy, something human and worthy might be saved from tragedy.”
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