Enrico Ponzo was a much better fugitive than he was a mobster. In 1989, he and some fellow members of the New England’s Patriarca Family decided that life would be much better without boss Cadillac Frank Salemme. So they tried to kill him…
The shooters missed, but Ponzo and a rogue faction of the family would continue to try to take it over. Police say they offered open $5,000 contracts for the murder of any rival Patriarca, and $15,000 to anyone who could take out Salemme.
In 1994, Ponzo was busted on drug charges. Instead of appearing in court, he decided to take it on the lam, eventually ending up in the tiny Idaho town of Marsing, about 40 miles outside of Boise.
He’d changed his name to Jeffrey Shaw, and said he was a graphic designer who worked from home. He would live there for a decade without anyone knowing who he really was.
Neighbors said he lived with his girlfriend and her two kids until recently. And while he claimed to be from both New York and New Jersey, no one seemed particularly suspicious about his presence. He paid for everything in cash and bought his house in his girlfriend’s name. He even raised a dozen cows, though friends say it was clear he knew little about farming.
The FBI isn’t saying how the finally tracked Ponzo down, but it’s clear he was living on ill-gotten gains. When they raided his house, they found 38 guns, $15,000 in cash, and a 100-ounce bar of gold.
In 1997, Ponzo and 14 others were indicted for racketeering, conspiracy and attempted murder for their plot to kill their rivals. Throw in the drug charges, and it doesn’t look like Ponzo will be returning to the life of Idaho rancher anytime soon.
See our last tale from the Organized Crime file: Vito Pipitone, Moron Mafioso, Stabs Wrong Guys, Gets Busted on Honeymoon.