Alpo Martinez, the Harlem kingpin who inspired ‘Paid In Full’

Alpo Martinez, the Harlem kingpin who inspired ‘Paid In Full’

A 1980s crack mainstay who later became a federal informant, Alpo Martinez was determined to repair his disgraced reputation in Harlem — until he was shot there in 2021.

Twitter Alpo Martinez was the self-proclaimed “mayor of Harlem” at the height of his drug-trafficking enterprise.

Abraham Rodriguez lived in Lewiston, Maine. His neighbors considered him pleasant and approachable. He liked to ride mountain bikes with his friends. Nobody in Lewiston would have ever thought that people would want to see him dead – lots of people, in fact. Nor did they suspect that Abraham Rodriguez wasn’t his real name, or that he was one of Harlem’s most notorious crack dealers in the 1980s.

His real name was Alpo Martinez, and he was in witness protection. While Martinez certainly earned enemies as a drug kingpin, he earned even more when he started reporting other dealers to the police.

Sadly, it seems like Martinez never really escaped his past. So when news of his death broke in 2021 – when he was killed in a drive-by shooting – many speculated that he had been murdered by a despised rival.

This is the double life of Alpo Martinez.

The Rise and Fall of the “Mayor of Harlem”

Born on June 8, 1966, Alpo Martinez became involved in the New York drug scene early on – he was only 13 when he started dealing drugs in East Harlem. The venture proved successful, and Martinez later earned a reputation as an explosive character with a penchant for driving expensive street cars and bikes.

“He was an attention seeker and an adrenaline junkie,” Martinez’s former friend (and reformed cocaine dealer) Kevin Chiles said in an interview with The New York Times. “You have to understand, we were all young adults, teenagers, and we had more money than we knew what to do with.”

Despite being young, Martinez has also proven to be brutal – and ready to kill his rivals. Usually he hired hitmen to do the deed. But sometimes Martinez also gets his hands dirty, like when he helped carry out the murder of his former partner and close friend Rich Porter in 1990 after suspecting Porter had barred him from major contracts.

As Martinez later said, “It wasn’t personal. It was business.

Rich porter

TwitterRich Porter and Alpo Martinez’s fateful partnership was dramatized in the 2002 film fully paid.

Porter’s murder marked the beginning of the end for Martinez. Less than a year later, he attempted to expand his business to Washington, DC, but was arrested and soon found himself charged with drug trafficking.

It was then that Martinez was offered a deal: to become a federal witness in exchange for a reduced sentence. Martinez took the deal and sold out his friends and partners. He pleaded guilty to contracting seven murders and his testimony effectively brought DC’s cocaine infrastructure to its knees.

Of course, betrayal is not taken lightly in the underground drug trade, and Martinez had a target on his back. He was therefore quickly placed in the federal witness protection program and given a new name: Abraham Rodriguez.

Alpo Martinez’s double life after prison

After Alpo Martinez was released from ADX Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado in 2015, he officially entered witness protection, according to New York Amsterdam News. He got a new ID for his new name and was instructed to move to Lewiston, Maine, a low-key town.

At first, it looked like Martinez was changing his life. He moved into a new apartment where he was well-liked by his neighbors, got a job at Walmart, and even played basketball with local teenagers.

Just two years later, Martinez founded his own construction company. His crews – and others he met in the area – never suspected that he had been involved in countless violent drug deals.

Unfortunately, Martinez had a hard time moving on from his old life completely. Shortly after his release from prison, he contacted his old friend Chiles, wanting to explain why he had become an informant in the early 1990s.

But it went beyond that, Chiles said. Martinez began returning to Harlem, despite being warned of the dangers of going against his witness protection arrangement. “There were these sightings, almost like Bigfoot,” Chiles said. The New York Times. “People would say they saw it.”

Alpo Martinez as Abraham Rodriguez

TwitterNeighbors considered “Abraham Rodriguez” a kind and cordial man.

One of Martinez’s closest friends in Lewiston, Nik Pappaconstantine, believed he messed up witness protection terms as early as 2018. Pappaconstantine said, “He would be going to New York with someone else. He was always worried that the government was watching.

But once Martinez arrived in New York, he seemed totally uninterested in laying low. Sometime in 2019, he met director Troy Reed and showed him the corner where he killed Rich Porter. On camera, he also opened up about what murder was like to him.

“It happened here. In this light,” Alpo Martinez explained in the video. “I was very angry. I just killed a **** that I liked, a **** that I was making money with, a **** that I called my brother with… and then I had to pick it up and cast him into the woods, and leave his body.

In 2020, Martinez came to Harlem so often that he was almost never in Lewiston. He seemed determined to fix his reputation in his old stomping grounds, but his status as “Mayor of Harlem” had long since faded.

Then, on October 31, 2021, Martinez was killed.

Inside the sudden death of Alpo Martinez

When news broke that Alpo Martinez, 55, had been shot and killed in Harlem, most assumed his killer was a vengeful rival or an old enemy trying to exact revenge. Martinez’s past, it seemed, had come back to haunt him.

“I’m surprised he wasn’t killed sooner,” a Harlem resident said. New York Amsterdam News. “He hurt a lot of people and they have sons and nephews who are now grown men. Maybe someone from DC? Or a younger G looking to get scratches for outplaying a rat. »

Meanwhile, Rich Porter’s niece said: ‘Every dog ​​has their day and today was theirs. I believe in karma and I’m glad I was here to witness it.

The truth, however, was far less cinematic.

As the New York Daily News reported, Martinez was killed because of his poor driving habits, not because he reported a former business partner.

At some point in the summer of 2021, Martinez apparently hit a man named Shakeem Parker with his motorcycle. Martinez reportedly had a bad habit of driving too close to pedestrians, but the incident reportedly angered Parker so much that he harbored a grudge for months.

Then, on Halloween around 3:20 a.m., Parker saw Martinez drive past him in a red Dodge Ram pickup truck. Seeing a moment of opportunity, Parker fired three shots into the driver’s side window of the truck, turned away, then turned and fired two more shots. Martinez was eventually shot in the arm and chest, with one of the bullets hitting his heart.

The death of Alpo Martinez

TwitterThe crime scene of Alpo Martinez’s death.

In his final moments, an NYPD source said New York Daily NewsMartinez was seen throwing bags of heroin out the window.

“He leaves behind a series of heroin packets, a few feet apart, as if he presumably knows, ‘I’m getting shot, the cops are coming, I don’t want to be caught with it. all that heroin’,” he added. says the source.

When the news reached Lewiston, most of Martinez’s former neighbors didn’t know what to think. All they remembered was that he had been a generally nice guy, friendly with the kids in his neighborhood. For close friends like Nik Pappaconstantine, the news of Martinez’s death also served as news about who he really was, and it stirred complex feelings.

“I want to sit here and say that I know he was completely genuine the entire time,” Pappaconstantine said. “You take someone you know incredibly well and then you read this stuff and it doesn’t connect.”

Those who knew him in Harlem, however, seemed less surprised.

“He died almost like a comic book villain,” Chiles said. “He thwarted fate.”

After learning about the rise and fall of Alpo Martinez, learn about the Harlem drug kingpin known as “Mr. Untouchable,” Leroy Nicky Barnes. Then read the story of Adolfo Constanzo and how he went from a Catholic boy to a drug kingpin – to a serial killer to the head of a satanic cult.


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