FBI agents Friday arrested a second reputed gang member on charges he was involved in the murder last month of a mob-linked businessman in the Bronx, officials said.
Herman ”Taliban” Blanco, 33, of the Bronx, was picked up on charges he was involved in the plot that led to the Oct. 4 slaying of Sylvester “Sally Daz” Zottola as he sat in his car waiting for food at a McDonald’s restaurant, officials said.
During a Brooklyn federal court appearance Friday, prosecutors said Blanco was a known member of the Bloods. He was ordered held without bail.
In a federal complaint, Blanco was accused of plotting with another reputed Bloods member, Bushawn Shelton, 34, in soliciting a confidential witness to help carry out the killing of Zottola. The complaint doesn’t allege that Blanco or Shelton, who was arrested earlier, actually did the fatal shooting but alleges that they solicited the confidential witness to kill Zottola and to help retrieve a gun used in an earlier unsuccessful effort to murder Zottola’s adult son in June.
A motive for the slaying and attempted slaying of the Zottolas wasn’t noted. But law enforcement sources believe that the elder Zottola, 71, a successful businessman linked to mob Joker-Poker machine operations in the Bronx, may have been targeted by Albanian gangsters.
Federal investigators have noted in court records that Zottola was a close associate of former Bonanno crime family street boss Vincent Basciano, who is serving a life sentence for racketeering murder.
Records show that Basciano once dumped a body on a Bronx lot owned by Zottola. Law enforcement officials have said that Basciano had worked with Albanian gangsters in the past and once tried to kill one of them in retaliation for a beating of a friend, but was vetoed by then-family boss Joseph Massino.