Alpo Martinez sent this photograph of himself in a Rolls Royce in Atlanta to a friend in Maine earlier this year. Submitted photo

When somebody gunned down legendary drug kingpin Alpo Martinez in New York City on Halloween, police initially thought they were dealing with a victim from Maine named Abraham Rodriquez.

It took a few hours before officials realized that Rodriquez, a 55-year-old from Lewiston, wasn’t just an unlucky Mainer who stumbled into trouble in Harlem.

They discovered that Rodriquez, who lived quietly on Lewiston’s College Street until weeks before his death, was an alias supplied to Martinez in 2015 by a federal witness protection program that aimed to keep him safe from an array of people with good reason to wish him ill.

If police have found any details about who exactly opened fire on him while he sat in his Maine-registered 2017 Ram in the early morning of Oct. 31, they’re keeping it to themselves. New York City police have yet to make an arrest in the high-profile slaying.

But it seems as if every hoodlum, hip-hop celebrity or hanger-on in Harlem has a theory about who did it.

They’re all over YouTube pontificating about Martinez’s life and death, a tale already told in a 2002 Hollywood movie called “Paid in Full.” And perhaps another movie is in the works.


The Yonkers Times reported recently that Martinez had cut a deal with help from singer and actress Mary J. Blige to have a movie about his life shot by Lionsgate, probably at the new studio it intends to open in 2023.

What his murder means to prospects for a film are unclear, though it certainly provides a solid finale to the tale.

But what happened to Martinez?

Most observers who have spoken out believe his past caught up with him.

Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, a former drug kingpin from New York City, lived in the rear apartment on the first floor of 169 College St. in Lewiston from 2015 until October. Steve Collins/ Sun Journal

Martinez rose to prominence in the crack trade in New York City and Washington, D.C. during the 1980s, when he became a figure so well known that one of his nicknames was “The Mayor of Harlem.” He was often seen with flashy cars, glamorous women and lots of jewelry.

He became something of a role model for the hip-hop generation coming of age in those days.


But when federal authorities snagged him three decades ago, he confessed to his involvement in 14 murders, including shooting one of his closest friends over a business deal, and might have faced the death penalty except that he agreed to turn on targets that prosecutors wanted more badly.

Martinez wound up serving a 35-year sentence at ADX Florence, the federal supermax prison in Colorado.

When he was released in 2015, authorities turned him loose in Maine with a new identify, Abraham Rodriquez, a man who got a reputation in the Pine Tree State as a hard worker in construction or driving commercially, and who had a way with women as well.

Most of the speculation surrounding his murder focuses on the reality that Martinez ratted out others in the drug business, leaving family and friends who might have harbored grievances deep enough to want to see him dead.

But there are other theories floating around that include miffed boyfriends angry that Martinez paid too much attention to certain women. Some wonder if Martinez is even dead, if the whole Halloween shooting was somehow staged.

What is certain is that Martinez, and his alter ego Rodriquez, are gone. And so far, authorities have offered no explanation for what happened to him.

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