Bloods Member Indicted For Conspiracy In Bonanno Associate's Murder Last Month

Reputed Bloods member Bushawn “Shelz” Shelton was indicted by a grand jury for murder for hire conspiracy and other charges in the October 4 murder of Bonanno crime family associate Sylvester Zottola, 71.

Zottola was gunned down in his car, picture below, while waiting at a McDonald's drive through window in the Bronx.

An unidentified cooperating witness testified that Shelton had paid him to kill Zottola and Zottola’s son, Salvatore Zottola, 41. The younger Zottola was shot outside his Locust Point home in July, but survived.

Law enforcement sources have alleged that the hit was ordered by Albanian mobsters seeking to control Zottola's “Joker Poker” video game racket.

One federal prosecutor estimated in court that the video game machines bring in as much as $7,000 a week. 

Shelton, 34, a reputed high-ranking member of the Bloods allegedly paid another man to try to kill Sylvester and Salvatore Zottola.

He also furnished the contract killer with drivers and pistols to carry out the July shooting and October murder.

The case was investigated by the F.B.I.’s Balkan and Middle Eastern organized crime squad.

For years, the Zottolas fostered close ties to the Luchese and Bonanno crime families, providing and maintaining electronic gambling machines for mob-controlled hubs in New Jersey.

In July Salvatore Zottola walked out of his Bronx home and into an early morning hail of bullets.

The shooter had pulled up in a dark-colored Nissan sedan and opened fire as Sally Daz walked to his car, shooting him multiple times – including once to the head and three times in his torso.

The son refused to cooperate with investigators, after FBI agents descended on the Zottolas' home in Locust Point. They were forced to take surveillance footage from a neighboring yacht club after Zottola denied them access to the houses’ cameras.

Zottola at the McDonald's drive through

Zottola and his family reportedly own three pricey four-story homes on the street where the attempted hit occured, all of which overlook the water off the eastern tip of the Bronx.

After hearing of the McDonald's murder, one investigator initially called them "The gang that couldn’t eat straight." The investigator had learned that Zottola had ordered only a medium McCafe, $1.29, when he pulled up in his SUV to the menu board outside the McDonald’s on Webster Avenue.

One thing is very clear: someone really really wanted the Zottola's dead.

In September 2017, Zottola caught a beating near his Bronx home.

Then in November, a gunman attempted to kidnap him.

Then, in December, Zottola arrived home to discover three men in his house apparently searching for something. One of the men stabbed him in the neck, almost killing him.

Zottola was out and about in June, when a man appeared outside his home. Zottola pulled a gun and scared him away. He was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon.

In July, a gunman shot Zottola’s son, Salvatore, multiple times outside their home.

They finally got Zottola while he waited for his McCafe. 

Michael Daly, writing for The Daily Beast, detailed some intriguing background.

John Gotti consiglieri/Bronx mafioso Frank Locascio "brought in an Albanian gangster named Zef Mustafa to serve as his driver."

As one observer put it, “Zef couldn’t drive for shit.” But Mustafa knew a whole host of Albanian gangsters who were each more fearsome than the next, making them Gotti’s kind of hoods.

“Very tough people,” the NYPD official noted.

Sally Daz....

The Albanians began hanging out in Italian joints and gradually began to assume ownership.

“[The NYPD and FBI] started seeing Gotti and his crew hanging out in Italian restaurants owned by Albanians,” the police official recalls. “It was like a slow, creepy takeover.”

Zottola was attacked again and again, his son nearly murdered, by some very determined hoods. As an associate of a New York crime family -- the Bonanno crime family -- Zottola should have been immune to such acts. 

He wasn't.