Drug kingpin Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, whose reign was portrayed in the cult classic film “Paid In Full,” was killed in a New York City drive-by shooting early Sunday morning in Harlem after serving decades in prison for murder — and being in a witness protection program for testifying against his associates.
The former Harlem hustler, who was portrayed by hip-hop star Cam’ron in the 2002 movie, was fatally shot as he sat in his 2017 Dodge Ram at a Harlem street around 3:30 a.m., police said. He was shot five times. Martinez was rushed to Harlem Hospital but couldn’t be saved.
As soon as he was released from prison in 2015 and returned to his old stomping grounds, Martinez was in danger, an unnamed, high-ranking police source told the New York Post.
“You were in the witness protection program because you testified against other drug dealers,” the 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.”
Martinez wasn’t keeping a low profile. He was spotted in his hometown posing for pictures with locals, The Source reported.
It wasn’t clear if Martinez had left witness protection entirely or was just back for a visit.
“It seems pretty intentional when you shoot somebody five times,” a police source said. There were no immediate arrests.
Martinez headed a drug empire in the mid-1980s in the same neighborhood where he was killed. In 1991, he was arrested for dealing crack in Washington, DC.
Martinez was released from prison in 2015 while serving a 35-year sentence at ADX Florence, a federal supermax prison in Colorado. He was convicted of drug charges, 14 counts of murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. He received a shortened sentence due to his deal with the feds. Fellow drug kingpin Kevin Chiles, who founded the hip-hop magazine Don Diva, compared Martinez to infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, according to a 2020 interview with Vlad TV.
Martinez reportedly reached out to Chiles, who was also doing time, to tell him that he hadn’t snitched on him. He contacted Chiles through a mutual female acquaintance to set up a meeting between the two men, Black Enterprise reported.
“Alpo told the female friend, ‘Me and Kev were cool. Kev believes I told him, and I want to talk to him to set the record straight with him,’” Chiles said. “‘Can you give him the message and get back to me?’”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?
The movie “Paid In Full” was based on the story of Martinez and his partners Azie Faiso and Rich Porter, who Martinez was accused of murder Porter for allegedly overcharging him for cocaine, The Source reported. Mekhi Phifer also starred in “Paid In Full.” The film raked in $81 million at the box office worldwide, making more than three times its $26 million production budget.
Martinez was profiled on a 2012 episode of the TV series “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” and several hip-hop artists have done shoutouts mentioning him, including Nas in “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)” and songs by Jay-Z and 50 Cent.
Photo: This photo was posted March 18 on Instagram on the account “alpoofficalpage.” It was accompanied by the words, “My Documentary Will Be Out Soon…Hope Y’all Ready My Documentary Will Be Out Soon…Hope Y’all Ready”.