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Friday, 11 March 2011

Enrico Ponzo was never a proper mobster, a “made man” in the vernacular of the underworld.


01:44 |

Enrico Ponzo was never a proper mobster, a “made man” in the vernacular of the underworld. He was a renegade, prosecutors say, part of a violent faction intent on ousting the bosses of the powerful Patriarca crime family in Boston in the early 1990s.

Mr. Ponzo’s home in Marsing, Idaho.
When a wide-ranging indictment came up against him and 14 others in 1997, Mr. Ponzo was charged with crimes that included attempted murder and extortion. But he was also listed as the target of a contract killing planned by one of the other defendants.

While most everyone else in the case went to prison, Mr. Ponzo was not arrested — he had been missing since 1994.

Jeffrey John Shaw, known as Jay, was never a natural rancher. The accent from back East and his inexperience with cattle gave him away quickly as another newcomer reinventing himself in the West. “He wore bib overalls and straw hats,” said Brodie Clapier, a neighbor and a longtime rancher. “People did wear bib overalls here — in the 1930s.”

But no one pried. After all, Mr. Shaw was quick to help move your furniture or fix your computer. He was trusted to manage the irrigation system people depended on for water, and he was responsible with the money they paid him to do it. In time, as he began raising two children and 12 cows on his 12 acres, prosecutors say Jay earned a stature no mob boss could ever confer on Enrico.

He became a remade man.

After tracking him down in a manner they declined to describe, and watching him for more than a week, federal marshals arrested Mr. Ponzo on Feb. 7 as he drove down the rural road where he has lived for the past decade. Soon after, Jay Shaw’s friends were stunned to see him in court in Boise, his ever-present hat and goatee gone, admitting he was Mr. Ponzo, someone they had never heard of, someone living on the lam, living a lie, for nearly two decades.

Now he is being extradited to Massachusetts. “I don’t know whether he really was a fugitive,” said Norman S. Zalkind, a Boston lawyer who represented Mr. Ponzo two decades ago. “If you look at the indictment, he was also one of the victims.”

He has called friends in Marsing to say he is sorry — and to tell them which pipes in the irrigation system need fixing. He asked them feed his dogs and his cows.


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