A Notorious Harlem Drug Lord Turned Witness Is Supposedly Out of Prison

By Seth Ferranti | vice.com
September 14, 2015

alpo released to witness protectionThe name Alberto “Alpo” Martinez tends to elicit strong reactions. He’s been celebrated as a street legend of epic proportions—an iconic figure out of hip-hop mythology who was played by the rapper Cam’ron in the movie Paid in Full. At the same time, Alpo is often reviled as a snitch, a rat of the highest order who allegedly betrayed the street code to save himself, tarnishing his legacy in the chronicles of gangster lore.

One thing is for sure, though: Word of Alpo’s apparent release from a little-known federal prison witness protection program—they’re called “cheese factories” on the inside—is resonating on the street. Don Diva magazine, probably the longest-running periodical devoted to the drug underworld and street life in New York City and beyond, reported that Alpo was released on its website last week.

Alpo was known as a trendsetter in crack-era Harlem, transporting hundreds of kilos of cocaine into Washington, DC, while flaunting his wealth and flamboyant lifestyle with cars, clothes and jewelry. But when he killed his best friend and business partner Rich Porter—another Harlem drug dealer who’s been immortalized in hip-hop lore—Alpo’s rep took a serious blow. When Alpo went on to testify against the man believed to be his former Washington, DC, enforcer in open court—apparently to spare himself a life sentence—he was branded a traitor.

To get the real deal on this infamous figure, VICE turned to another former Harlem drug dealer, Kevin Chiles. Chiles served over a decade in the feds for his own drug organization, founded Don Diva from the cell block, and was a contemporary of Alpo’s back in the 1980s. Back then, the crack epidemic was in full swing and young hustlers like Alpo, Rich Porter, Azie and Kevin Chiles were making a name for themselves by perpetuating the lifestyle and fashions that rappers would go on to emulate.

Here’s what he had to say.

Read more here: http://www.vice.com/read/a-notorious-harlem-drug-lord-turned-witness-is-supposedly-out-of-prison-914

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