Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Alig: The Life and Death of the Party

When Angel Met Alig

Shortly after the Joan Rivers appearance, Angel, in his early 20s, appeared on the club scene. He had ingratiated himself with Alig's inner circle through drugs, but he was seen by the crowd as a hanger-on, a wanna-be. He was from a traditional Columbian family who had moved to New York when he was eight years old.

While he had a brother whom he resembled physically, the two were very different in temperament. Angel was gay and an habitué of the pier scene on the West Side of Greenwich Village. His brother was a straight, macho Latino guy who was a salsa DJ.

Peter Gatien
Peter Gatien

Angel had infiltrated Alig's inner circle by making himself useful — providing drugs. He was rumored to be paid indirectly by Peter Gatien to sell at his clubs, although those charges could never be proven, and could be seen most nights at the Tunnel and Limelight wearing his hand-made giant wings, which he paired with a leather biker hat pulled low over his eyes. Angel didn't partake of his supplies and was a true businessman — a sticking point that would later get him in trouble. When the DEA investigation into the party scene became more aggressive, Gaiten seemed to decide he didn't need a high-visibility drug dealer in his clubs, and Melendez became homeless after losing his job at the Limelight; but he stayed with Alig from time to time.

Alig was now a full-blown addict, and access to drugs nonstop was exceedingly convenient. Angel, perhaps too trusting of Alig, would leave his money and his drugs at the apartment where Alig stayed with another drug dealer, Robert "Freeze" Riggs. Both were addicted to crack and heroin, and both would frequently dip into Angel's stash without telling him and without paying him.

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