Alleged Mafioso Who Lived in Idaho as Cattle Rancher Begins Trial Today


Archived photo of a young Enrico Ponzo.
  • F.B.I.
  • Archived photo of a young Enrico Ponzo.

His friends and neighbors knew him as Jeff Shaw, an Eastern Idaho cattle rancher. But his real name was Enrico Ponzo, 45, a man who spent 17 years on the lam, including time as a rancher in Marsing.

Today, in a U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass., Ponzo begins a trail where he's facing a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges he killed rivals, distributed drugs and laundered money. The trial is expected to last approximately six weeks.

Ponzo was caught in February 2011 when law enforcement raided his Idaho home, finding $100,000 in cash, $65,000 in gold coins, 22 rifles, eight handguns and 34,000 rounds of ammunition.

This morning's Boston Globe reports that Ponzo, facing a total of 18 criminal charges, was an associate of the Patriarca family of La Cosa Nostra, "or the New England Mafia." Prosecutors say Ponzo helped carry out crimes against rivals and is expected to encounter many of his former associates, as well as possible targets, in his trial.