Alberto (Alpo) Martinez, whose cocaine trafficking empire stretched from New York to Washington DC at the height of the bloody drug wars three decades ago, was shot dead early Sunday in Harlem, a senior police officer said.
Police said a 55-year-old man was shot multiple times in the chest, chin and arm while sitting in the driver’s seat of a Dodge Ram on West 147th Street near Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
The police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge the information, identified the man as Mr. Martinez, whose exploits had been immortalized in hip-hop songs and in the 2002 film “Paid in Full”.
Police responded to the scene around 3:30 a.m. after receiving emergency calls and warnings from a system that detects gunfire. The man was transported to the Harlem Hospital Center and pronounced dead on arrival.
According to police, he was found with an ID card named Abraham Rodriguez.
His vehicle had provisional license plates from Texas, the police said. There were no arrests until Sunday evening.
In a prison interview with FEDS magazine, quoted in the New York Times in 1999, Mr. Martinez – who confessed to 14 murders before witnessing the government – described how he shot a childhood friend, Richard Porter, in 1990 because of he suspected him of meddling in drug deals.
“Paid in Full” also portrayed the life of Mr. Porter and his relationship with Mr. Martinez.
An accomplice shot Mr. Porter twice, Mr. Martinez told the editor of the publication that circulated among the inmates. “He didn’t die so I shot him in the head,” said Mr. Martinez.
Mr. Martinez said he and an accomplice then dumped the body on City Island in the Bronx.
Mr. Martinez grew up in New York, where he played a prominent role in the fierce turf wars over the cocaine and crack trade from the 1980s onwards.
He expanded his empire to Washington, DC, where he was arrested in 1991 and later charged with 14 murders, including the murders of a DC drug dealer and a Brooklyn drug dealer, among a number of other charges.
Ashley Southall Reporting contributed.