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Drug Boss Alpo Martinez Killed in Harlem

by David Mack
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Alpo Martinez

Mr. Martinez, 55,  was a prominent figure in violent cocaine wars that rocked New York decades ago. A high-ranking police official confirmed that Alberto (Alpo) Martinez who controlled cocaine dealing empires from New York to Washington, D.C., at the peak gruesome drug territorial wars was on Sunday shot and killed by yet unidentified person(s).

According to the police report, a 55-year-old man sitting in the driver’s seat of a Dodge  Ram had been shot severally in the chest, arm, and chin, killing him instantly. The incident occurred on West 147th Street in the axis of Frederick Douglass Boulevard.


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The police official who released the information on the basis of anonymity identified the man as Mr. Martinez, the drug boss who was considered kingpin of Cocaine cartels in New York decades ago. His exploits were immortalized in hip-hop songs and in the 2002 film “Paid in Full.” his life was chronicled.

After 911 calls and alerts from a system that identifies gunshots, the police arrived at the scene around 3:30 a.m. to take cognizance of the situation. The man was taken to Harlem Hospital Center immediately where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The police reported that the man had identification which read Abraham Rodriguez.

Police said his vehicle had temporary plates from Texas, the police said. As of Sunday evening, the investigation was still going on and no arrests had been made. Mr. Martinez had in the past confessed to murdering 14 people before becoming a government witness. In a prison interview conducted by F.E.D.S. magazine quoted in The New York Times in 1999, Mr. Martinez revealed that he had shot a boyhood friend, Richard Porter in 1990 because he suspected him of cutting in on drug deals.

In the film “Paid in Full” Porter’s life and engagements with Mr. Martinez were shown.

“An accomplice had shot Mr. Porter twice,” Mr. Martinez told the editor of the magazine, which circulated among inmates. “He didn’t die, so I shot him in the head,” Mr. Martinez said.

Mr. Martinez said that he and an accomplice then dumped Porter’s body on City Island in the Bronx.


Mr. Martinez was born June 8, 1966, in East Harlem (known also as Spanish Harlem) section in Upper Manhattan of New York City,  He was of Puerto Rican descent and was raised in New York. He became infamous for dealing in cocaine and crack cocaine in the mid–the 1980s and engaged in violent turf wars that characterize the cocaine business. He became very strong in New York and expanded his drug business to other cities, particularly Washington D.C. In 1991, he was arrested in D.C and subsequently charged with 14 counts of murder which included the murders of a D.C. drug dealer and a Brooklyn drug dealer, Ong side a series of other charges.

Martinez was convicted on 14 counts of murder and was released in 2015 while serving a 35-year sentence at ADX Florence, a federal supermax prison located in Fremont County, Colorado.

He gained freedom after testifying against former allies and had been living under a United States witness protection program in Lewiston, Maine. He moved under a new identity; Abraham G. Rodriquez, until before his death in 2021.

Martinez was raised by his single mother and had a sibling. He was a student at a Roman Catholic school, attended  Automotive Mechanical High School and Julia Richman High School. However, he dropped from college before his sophomore year.

His career in the drug trade started at the age of 13 when he sold drugs in East Harlem. After meeting Azie Faison, a drug dealer he got more opportunities in the trade and advanced, eventually becoming one of the biggest drug dealers in the city.

Martinez expanded his drug business to Washington and became part of the underworld drug cartel. There he met Wayne ‘Silk’ Perry, a notorious gangster, and D.C. enforcer, who later became his bodyguard and hitman.

In July 1990, Martinez was indicted on federal drug charges with two other men. However, the indictment against Martinez was dismissed when he was unavailable for their trial which started November 1991 because he was at large.

The affidavit stated that Nathaniel Watkins (Rich Porter’s cousin), Martinez’s co-defendant in the Alexandria, Virginia case, told the FBI in 1989 he was present when Martinez gave $300,000 to a fellow drug dealer in a Crystal City, Virginia hotel room and instructed the man to take the money to New York.

Watkins gave the FBI details of how the drug dealer rode to New York in a limousine, which he and his girlfriend followed, and they proceeded to a Harlem apartment where they met Alpo Martinez, who had flown to New York. Sherrill Gilbert, Nathaniel Watkins, and several witnesses testified that Martinez was a major dealer in the crack and that members of the drug ring had executed several people.

While still engaged in the drug trade, Alpo Martinez was arrested on November 7, 1991. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, various drug charges, and 14 counts of murder, which included the murder of D.C drug dealer Michael Anthony Salters known also as Fray and Demencio Benson, a Brooklyn drug dealer.

Alpo Martinez turned informant and testified against his cartel members when he was faced with the threat of death penalty or life imprisonment without the option of parole. His testimony against Perry reduced his sentence to 35 years while Perry received five consecutive life sentences.

His death on October 31, 2021 week was widely reported by several media outlets which included Hot 97 and the New York Times.

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