When criminals choose to cooperate with the authorities against others in the game, it is a veritable death sentence on the street. This weekend, former Harlem kingpin and notorious government informant Alberto “Alpo” Martinez met the fate of most informants who don’t keep a low profile. He was shot five times around 3:30 AM on Halloween as he sat in his vehicle outside of a party at 147th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. According to reports, the man portrayed by rapper Cam’ron’s Rico character in the classic film Paid In Full attempted to drive away before succumbing to his wounds and crashing into a parked vehicle.
Alpo was a native of Spanish Harlem and rose to prominence during the storied Crack Era as one of the top cocaine dealers in the city. The trio of Alpo, Azie “AZ” Faison and Rich Porter revolutionized the coke trade in Harlem, largely through their venture at The Jukebox, a Sugar Hill game room situated between 145th St. between 7th and 8th Avenues where they hid money and drugs in video games like Pac-Man.
In time, Alpo moved to Washington, DC to be with a girlfriend. Seeing the vacancy left on the street by the conviction of fellow disgraced drug lord Rayful Edmond who ran the District, Alpo filled the void. He was able to rise due to his swagger and likability, eventually going on to move up to 30 kilos of cocaine per day. His success was largely due his enlisting of Wayne “Silk” Perry as hit enforcer. To maintain his empire, Alpo also committed as many as 14 murders. The most notable of these killings were Michael “Fray” Salters, Brooklyn’s Domencio Benson and the 1991 slaying of his former righthand man, Rich Porter.
In November of 1996, Alpo was arrested on charges ranging from drug offenses, murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Facing life behind bars or the death penalty, the embattled hustler decided to break the rules of the game he willingly participated in by turning government informant. In addition to telling on various figures, he also confessed to 14 heinous murders.
Don Diva founder/CEO Kevin Chiles was one of the people he informed against. Perhaps his most dastardly betrayal was that of Wayne Perry, who loyally protected him in the streets. On March 5, 1993, based on Alpo’s cooperation, a 27 count indictment was levied against Perry. The charges included the murders of nine people in the furtherance of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, retaliating against a witness, kidnapping and robbery. Perry would be the first person in D.C. to face the death penalty since 1971. The hitman agreed to a plea deal without cooperating, admitting to five murders In return for his plea agreement, some of Perry’s friends and family were spared penalties. Instead of the death sentence, Perry was locked away for five consecutive life sentences in federal prison.
Alpo ended up being sentenced to 35 years in prison under federal witness protection. He served his time at the ADX Florence supermax before being released in 2015. According to reports, his last known address was in Maine and the 2017 Dodge Ram he was driving at the time of his demise had paper plates from Texas, according to sources. He popped back up on the NYC scene in 2019 when he was recorded showing legendary street documentary maker Troy Reed the spots where he killed Rich Porter and dumped his lifeless body. He would go on to emerge in attempts to secure interviews on different platforms, making new enemies along the way.
In reaction to the slaying 31 years after murdering Rich Porter in cold blood, the family of Alpo’s victim was elated by the news. “We waited for a long time for this day to come and we are happy,” said Porter’s niece known simply as Lorell. “That’s why we’re out here celebrating drinking champagne. Everybody’s reaction right now is celebrating. It’s a celebration for Harlem, period.”