Peter Martinez "owed a lot of money," his girlfriend says—and he evidently owed it to some very dangerous people. The 28-year-old ex-con from Brooklyn has been identified as the dead man who washed ashore in the borough on Monday with his hands tied behind his back and his feet encased in concrete, the New York Daily News reports. Officials say Martinez has been arrested 31 times and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2011 on identity theft charges. A law enforcement source tells the Wall Street Journal that a preliminary investigation suggests he was already dead when he was dumped in the water: He had tape over his mouth and nostrils and apparently died of asphyxiation.
Another source tells the Journal that Martinez's 33-year-old girlfriend, who is pregnant, told investigators that he was a high-ranking member of the Crips gang. She told investigators that she last saw him getting his hair braided at a barbershop near where the body was found—and she wasn't very surprised when he turned up dead. Police were able to determine his identity because a tattoo on his back of the Virgin Mary with a rose was mentioned in the missing-persons report. ABC7 reports that investigators believe the body only surfaced because there was an air pocket in the concrete around his feet, which caused it to crack. (Read more New York City stories.)