Wiseguy Who Posed as Rancher Gets More Time for Guns

Ponzo settled in a small Idaho town -- and for the next 10 years, the Boston wiseguy successfully posed as a rancher named Jay Shaw.
Enrico Ponzo was quite jovial in an interview, though he's been a difficult prisoner, committing various violent acts.

A longtime Boston Mafia associate who was a fugitive from Massachusetts justice for 16 years was sentenced to 46 months on multiple charges in Boise recently, news reports revealed.

That's in addition to the 28-year-sentence the mobster has already received.

Enrico Ponzo, 47, after participating in a failed hit that was part of a New England Mafia war, fled Massachusetts in 1994, with law enforcement in hot pursuit. Following years on the run, Ponzo settled in a small Idaho town -- and for the next 10 years, the Boston wiseguy successfully posed as a rancher named Jay Shaw.

The FBI and US Marshals arrested him in Idaho in 2011 and extradited him to Massachusetts. Two years later, following a trial in which he faced attempted murder and other charges, Ponzo was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

“He wore bib overalls and straw hats,” said a longtime rancher who'd been one of Ponzo's Idaho neighbors.
“People did wear bib overalls here — in the 1930s.”

He returned to his former adopted home state of Idaho to a courtroom to face multiple felonious counts involving unlawful possession of a firearm, aggravated identity theft, and possession of documents for fraudulent use.

"Cadillac Salamme"

Judge Edward Lodge sentenced Ponzo as part of a plea agreement the mobster accepted in January for being a felon in possession of 33 firearms (as well as 34,000 rounds of ammunition).

Prosecutors argued successfully before Judge Lodge that this sentence run consecutively to his earlier sentence in Massachusetts. They took this stand because of the 90 separate disciplinary reports filed during Ponzo's stay in the Ada County Jail. Seems he was quite the handful. Five of the reports involved the use of force.

Lodge ordered that 23 months of Ponzo's sentence be run consecutively to the 28-year sentence he received in Massachusetts.

Member of Violent Cosa Nostra Faction
Ponzo, not an inducted member of Cosa Nostra, was a renegade member of a violent faction of the New England family that was intent on ousting bosses of the formerly powerful Patriarca family's Boston group in the early 1990s.

In his November 2013 trial, Ponzo was convicted of several federal crimes, including the 1989 attempted assassination of Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, a top-level member of the New England Mafia amid a factional war that erupted when the Patriarca family finally fractured along a natural fault line that for decades had separated the Boston faction from the one in Providence, Rhode Island.

"Cadillac Frank" was supposed to be killed as part of a one, two punch to knock out the bosses of Providence's rival leadership.

As noted, during the war for dominance, many thought the real power in the family was William "The Wild Man" Grasso, who served as Raymond Patriarca, Jr's underboss.

Grasso's extensive criminal career made him one of the most feared mobsters in New England. A cunning, ruthless gangster, Grasso ran Connecticut-based crime operations for the Patriarcas from his New Haven headquarters since the mid-1970s.

"Wild Man" Grosso was slain in mob war.

In June of 1989, Grasso's body was found in the Connecticut River. He'd been shot in the head. Hours prior to the body's discovery, "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was shot in a Boston suburb by three gunmen, one of whom was Ponzo. Hit in the stomach and the knee, Salemme survived. The feud between Salemme and the man ultimately behind his shooting, J.R. Russo, continued until New York's Gambino crime family brokered a peace agreement that named a Salemme loyalist boss.

Nicholas Bianco, acting underboss after Grasso's death, was elevated to acting boss. In 1991, he was among the defendants tried for the Grasso murder.

During the 2013 case Ponzo argued to Judge Nathaniel Gorton that his sentence should be limited to 15 years as he was a changed man, having turned his life around while on the lam and living in Idaho.

Apparently not very moved by the fugitive's story, the judge still lobbed a 28-year sentence at him.