News & Politics

Former Drug Kingpin “Alpo” Martinez, Killed Last Weekend, Was Once One of DC’s Most Notorious Cocaine Suppliers

He had been living in a witness protection program in Maine.

Alberto (“Alpo”) Martinez, killed Sunday, was known for his drug dealing in New York City. But in the late ’80s, he focused on expanding his enterprise in DC. In 1991, he was arrested in Southeast DC and charged with, among other things, 14 counts of murder. Prosecutors in a separate case noted that Martinez had shipped more than 1,200 pounds of cocaine to the District.

Early Sunday, Martinez was shot several times in the chest, chin and arm while sitting in the driver’s seat of a Dodge Ram in Harlem. The New York native was once a major player in the cocaine and crack turf battles there in the ’80s. When he expanded his drug empire into Washington DC, he used infamous gangster and hitman Wayne “Silk” Perry as his enforcer here.

After his 1991 arrest, Martinez was facing the possibility of the death penalty or life without parole.  He became an FBI informant, ratting out Perry in exchange for a 35-year sentence. At the time of his death, Martinez was living in witness protection in Lewiston, Maine.

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Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.