Who Was Alpo Martinez? Drug Lord Who Inspired 'Paid in Full' Killed in Harlem

Drug lord Alpo Martinez, who inspired the 2002 film Paid in Full, has been shot dead in Harlem, New York, aged 55.

According to the The New York Times, a high-ranking police officer said that Martinez was killed in the early hours of Sunday, October 31, whilst sitting in the driver's seat of a Dodge Ram on West 147th Street near Frederick Douglass Boulevard. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Harlem Hospital Center.

Investigations into the death are ongoing and the identity of the assailant is not yet known.

Martinez inspired the character Rico in the movie, who was played by Cam'ron. The film followed the criminal exploits of Harlem gangsters, Rico, Ace (inspired by Azie Faison) and Mitch (based on Rich Porter), and their rise and fall in the criminal underworld.

Who Was Alpo Martinez?

Albert Geddis 'Alpo' Martinez, hailing from Harlem, played a prominent role in dealing cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in New York City, alongside fellow drug dealers Azie Faison and Rich Porter.

According to LatinTRENDS, Martinez began drug dealing as a young teenager in east Harlem, quickly moving up the chain of command to becoming one of the biggest drug dealers in the city.

He later expanded his illegal network to other U.S. cities, most prominently Washington D.C..

Martinez was arrested in November 1991 after being a fugitive for two years. He was charged on various drug offenses, conspiracy to commit murder, and 14 counts of murder.

Martinez, who was just 25-years-old at the time, became a government witness, which saw him testify against former gang members, rivals, and associates. In particular, he testified against, Wayne 'Silk' Perry, a notorious D.C.-based gangster, and Martinez's former enforcer.

In the end, Perry received five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Alongside giving names and details of people of interest to the federal government, Martinez confessed to all 14 murders. As a result, he avoided the death penalty or the possibility of life without parole, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

He was released in 2015, having served his sentence at ADX Florence, a maximum security prison in Colorado. Upon his release, he entered the federal witness protection program.

In a prison interview with F.E.D.S. magazine, which was quoted in The New York Times, he described shooting his childhood friend and right-hand man Rich Porter in January 1990.

The story inspired the film Paid in Full, which portrayed Porter's life, friendship, and later estranged relationship with Martinez.

Cam'ron Alpo Martinez
Cam'ron's (pictured) character Rico in 'Paid in Full' was inspired by drug lord Alpo Martinez. Photo by Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET