‘Live by the gun, die by the gun’ is common street ethics, and early Sunday morning the chickens came home to roost when one of Harlem’s infamous crack traffickers, who unleashed much death and destruction, was murdered in a drive-by shooting. Alberto Geddis Martinez, “Alpo,” gained urban folklore status during the late-1980s/early-1990s, and was one of many street entrepreneurs responsible for turning Harlem into the dilapidated community it became several decades ago.
He was shot five times through the driver’s side window of his red 2017 Dodge Ram truck, which had temporary Texas license plates, while driving south on Fredrick Douglas Blvd., bet. 152nd-151st Streets. While franticly escaping the scene, he reportedly tossed over a dozen baggies containing what is believed to be heroin, out his window, before crashing into several vehicles and eventually stopping at 147th Street. EMS workers rushed him to Harlem Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Reportedly, he was leaving from a local nightclub.
“Someone prolly saw’em there and made a call, ‘Yo, guess who here? Dat n!&&@ Po! Come ‘n get’em!” speculated one Harlem source who declined to be identified. “He thought he couldn’t get got, but he hurt a lot of families whose sons and nephews are now grown men with long memories. What was he thinking, still showing his face in Harlem, plus without a [bulletproof] vest?”
He was shot in the arm, chest and chin at around 3:20 a.m., which was captured by the NYPD’s SpotShot system, alerting police. When they arrived at 3:30 a.m., his ID card had the name ‘Abraham Rodriguez’ of Lewiston, Maine on it, which may have been given to him in his plea bargain with the Feds. After being released from ADX Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado in 2015, he entered the witness protection program.
Alpo was born June 8, 1966, and raised in East Harlem’s East River Houses, later relocating to Washington D.C., where he expanded his operations. He and a couple of co-defendants were indicted in 1990 in Washington D.C. for federal drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit murder, and 14 counts of murder. Rather than face life imprisonment or the death penalty, he copped a plea deal and was sentenced 35 years in prison.
He confessed to the 14 murders, including that of his childhood friend, Rich Porter, in 1990, then betrayed the code of the streets and testified in federal court against cats from his crew, including his alleged hitman, Wayne Anthony Perry.
As word spread about his murder, some celebrated.
“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,” Porter’s 37-year-old niece, told the Daily News.
Word has circulated in the street in recent years that Alpo was breezing through Harlem.
“I’m surprised he didn’t get killed sooner,” expressed another Harlemite, who spoke anonymously. “He hurt a lot of people and they have sons and nephews who are now grown men. Perhaps someone from D.C.? Or a younger G lookin’ to get some stripes for outtin’ a rat.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea noted: “It’s a very preliminary investigation. We are looking into all aspects as to what the motive would be, including his past. We have every confidence that as the investigation proceeds, we’ll find justice and those responsible.”
The 2002 movie “Paid In Full” is based on Alpo’s hustling history with Porter and Azie Faison.
“Now my uncle can finally rest in peace, 32 years later,” his niece said. “It’s just that the pain my mother felt all these years, I been feeling the pain with her. Every dog has their day and today was his,” she said of Martinez. “I believe in karma, and I’m glad that I was here to witness it.”