Alpo Martinez, a well-known New York drug dealer from the ’90s, was shot and killed while making an unexpected visit to Harlem. No suspects have been identified and police are trying to understand what happened.

Martinez was found at 3:24 a.m. Sunday morning at the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 147 Street in Harlem. According to police, he was found in his 2017 red Dodge Ram and had been shot five times in a drive-by shooting.

The 55-year-old was rushed to Harlem Hospital, but doctors were unable to save him. Bullet wounds were found in his chin, chest and arm. Authorities are trying to figure out who killed him.

What happened to Alpo Martinez? (Credit: LLN NYC)

Police are unsure why Alpo Martinez was in Harlem at the time of his death. The former drug dealer had spent the last six years in the witness protection program in Maine after he ratted out other NYC drug dealers in the ’90s.

The 55-year-old was found shot in Harlem and pronounced dead at the hospital. He was shot five times in a drive-by shooting. (Credit: LLN NYC)
The 55-year-old was found shot in Harlem and pronounced dead at the hospital. He was shot five times in a drive-by shooting. (Credit: LLN NYC)

“You were in the witness protection program because you testified against other drug dealers,” a source said. “You’d make a lot of enemies who have a score to settle.” When you return to the same area, word will get out very fast. He’s back in the zone.”

According to sources, Martinez’s Dodge Ram had Texas plates and the man was found with an ID for Abraham Rodriguez at the time of his death.

While officers have yet to identify a suspect, they believe this killing to be personal because of the number of times Martinez was shot. An investigation is ongoing.

Police have no suspects in the shooting, but they believe the killing to be personal. It is unclear why the former drug dealer returned to Harlem. (Credit: LLN NYC)
Police have no suspects in the shooting, but they believe the killing to be personal. It is unclear why the former drug dealer returned to Harlem. (Credit: LLN NYC)

Before going into the witness protection program, Alpo Martinez made a name for himself in the ’80s and ’90s as one of New York’s most powerful drug dealers. His empire stretched from New York to Washington D.C. and for three years he supplied cocaine and crack to the area.

In 1991, Martinez was arrested in Washington D.C. for dealing cocaine. He was later charged with 14 counts of murder, including the death of his childhood friend and business partner, Richard Porter.

During an interview in prison, Martinez admitted to shooting Porter in the head when it was clear that he wasn’t dead. The former drug dealer believed his partner was stealing from him.

Following the shooting, the family of Richard Porter were told of Martinez’s death and according to sources, they were happy to hear that the drug dealer had been killed. They celebrated the news with champagne.

“We waited for a long time for this day to come and we are happy. That’s why we’re out here celebrating, drinking champagne,” said a 37-year-old niece of Porter’s who said her name was Lorell. “Everybody’s reaction right now is celebrating. It’s a celebration for Harlem, period.”

Alpo Martinez spent 35 years in prison at ADX Florence, which is a supermax prison in Colorado. He was released in 2015 and entered the witness protection program after tattling on other drug dealers in the New York area.

Because of his notoriety, Alpo Martinez became semi-famous in pop culture. His name has been mentioned in rap songs by Jay Z, Nas and 50 Cent. The former drug dealer was also featured in the 2002 movie Paid in Full and portrayed by the rapper Cam’ron.