Patriarca Mobster Who Lammed It for 16 Years Faces 40 Today

Ponzo lammed it and began
life as a new man: an honest
citizen, to boot.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Enrico Ponzo, the mobster who spent more than 16 years on the run (including more than a decade as a cattle rancher, then later as a web designer in Idaho under an alias), is scheduled to be sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Prosecutors have recommended a 40-year-sentence, saying the 45-year-old Ponzo is a "vicious, violent, cold-blooded criminal."

Ponzo, representing himself, requested 15 years or less, saying he lived a "hardworking, selfless life in Idaho ... as a stay-at-home dad" and community volunteer.

He was convicted in November of several crimes, including the attempted murder in 1989 of Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme."

Ponzo and three others attempted to whack the former head (then informer for the Feds) of the Patriarca family. He and his men shot "Cadillac Frank" Salemme in 1989 at a Pancake House in Saugus, failing to kill him.

In 1994, Ponzo was arrested on drug charges, and additional warrants were issued when he failed to appear in court. Authorities believe he went on the lam around this time. Two years later he was charged with aggravated assault in Everett, Mass., and a federal jury subsequently indicted him on charges related to a range of incidents, including murder conspiracy.

FBI officials in Massachusetts and Idaho worked with a U.S. Marshals' Task Force; the Treasure Valley (Idaho) Metro Violent Crime Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and local authorities to track and arrest Ponzo.

The Idaho Statesman reported that Ponzo had been living on a 12-acre homestead with his girlfriend, Cara Lyn Pace, and two young children. The couple said they had been together for a long time and that "Jay" did Web design and computer work in addition to maintaining his ranch. Pace reportedly moved out with the kids at Christmas, prompting Ponzo to file a custody suit.

Ponzo helped his neighbors with their computer problems, The Statesman noted, and he attended dinners at their homes. He also got involved with managing local irrigation issues. The owner of a local restaurant described him as "quiet and very friendly."