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Former NYC drug lord living in witness protection in Lewiston killed in Harlem drive-by shooting

Alberto Martinez, 55, had been living in Lewiston under the name Abraham Martinez.

LEWISTON, Maine — Editors note: The video above aired Oct. 19, 2021.

A former New York City drug lord living in Lewiston as part of the federal witness protection program was killed Sunday in Harlem.

Alberto Martinez, 55, known as Alpo, oversaw a cocaine operation between New York and Washington, D.C. beginning in the 1980s, the New York Times reported.

His life was the subject of the 2002 film "Paid in Full" starring Mekhi Pfifer.

Police were called just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday to the intersection of West 147th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem, and found 55-year-old Abraham Rodriguez of Lewiston with multiple gunshot wounds to his torso, Det. Annette Shelton of the New York City Police Department told NEWS CENTER Maine in an email Monday. He was taken by ambulance to NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem, where he was pronounced dead.

Shelton said no arrests had been made.

Martinez was charged in 1991 with conspiracy, operating a continuing drug enterprise, and using weapons found during drug deals, the Washington Post reported at the time.

He became a police informant in exchange for a lighter sentence of 35 years. The online publication Complex reports that Martinez was released in 2015.

In a 1999 interview with F.E.D.S. magazine, Martinez confessed to 14 murders before becoming a government witness.

During a press conference Monday with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Safety Commissioner Dermot Shea said Martinez was driving a truck when he was struck multiple times, but continued to drive about four blocks before crashing.

The investigation is "very preliminary," Shea said. "We're looking into all aspects of what the motive might be, including his past."

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories.