A New York man sought by the FBI for more than a year on cocaine distribution charges in Northern Virginia and wanted for questioning in drug-related killings from Washington to New York was arrested yesterday in the District.

Alberto "Alpo" Martinez, 25, was arrested just after midnight Thursday by the FBI and D.C. police as he drove his truck in Southeast Washington near Pennsylvania and Minnesota avenues, said his attorney, Thomas Abbenante.

The FBI and D.C. police provided only scant information yesterday about Martinez's arrest, saying that their investigations into his alleged drug dealing and his possible involvement in homicides are continuing.

Law enforcement sources said Martinez is believed to have information about some highly publicized homicides here in recent months, including the July 16 killing of D.C. drug dealer Michael Anthony Salters and the Oct. 21 daylight killings of Timothy Cohen and Mark Mullen at Sam's Car Wash in Oxon Hill.

According to an affidavit filed in April at U.S. District Court in Alexandria in support of Martinez's arrest, Martinez served as liaison between a New York cocaine operation and drug dealers in the Washington, Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg area.

Dressed in a brown leather coat and jeans, Martinez appeared yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Alan Kay and refused to waive extradition to Virginia.

Kay ordered him detained pending a removal hearing on Nov. 15.

Martinez said little during the brief hearing, but sniffled loudly as tears welled in his eyes.

Martinez's wife, who Abbenante said was in the truck when Martinez was arrested, cried throughout the hearing.

As he left, Martinez told an associate to "look after her."

Abbenante, who told Kay that he had been hired by Martinez, instructed court personnel not to interview his client for background information routinely compiled to determine whether a defendant is eligible for bond.

According to the affidavit, Martinez was indicted on federal drug charges in July 1990 with two other men, but the indictment against Martinez was dismissed when he remained a fugitive at the time their trial began.

The affidavit said also that "additional facts came to light further implicating Martinez in criminal conduct."

According to the affidavit, Nathaniel Watkins, Martinez's codefendant in the Alexandria case, told the FBI this year that in 1989 he was present when Martinez gave $300,000 to a fellow drug dealer in a Crystal City hotel room and instructed the man to take the money to New York.

Watkins told the FBI that the drug dealer rode to New York in a limousine, which he and his girlfriend followed, and they went to a Harlem apartment where they met Martinez, who had flown to New York.