Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Accused hitman sells cattle for big $

When accused Mafia hit man Enrico Ponzo’s 12 cows were sold at an auction last week, they fetched top dollar, the alleged mobster’s former Idaho neighbors told the Herald.
“They were in really good shape, and they sold pretty fast,” said Kelly Verceles, a 39-year-old rancher who still thinks of himself as one of John Jeffrey “Jay” Shaw’s best friends.
Two weeks ago, Verceles learned that his buddy was Ponzo, a man the FBI says is extremely dangerous. The East Boston native’s true identity was revealed after he was arrested and charged with conspiring to murder 14 people.
Ponzo, 42, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Verceles, 39, a former Marine, is sticking by him.
“He was the go-to guy for anything, working on the computer or fixing irrigation problems,” Verceles said from Marsing, Idaho, a tiny ranching town where he spent years getting to know Jay Shaw.
“Everyone says he should get some benefit for his good behavior. If there’s some kind of justice, they should take that into account.”
Verceles said he still speaks daily with Ponzo, who is in a maximum security Idaho jail, waiting to be transported back to Boston, where, authorities say, he played a key role in an especially bloody chapter of La Cosa Nostra’s history in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
But as far as Verceles knows, “Shaw” was a former military man who met his common-law wife, Cara Lyn Pace, in 1997 in Arizona. The couple lived in Washington before settling in Idaho in 2000.
At barbecues and on hunting trips, the pals would talk politics, Verceles said.
“Jay was always really patriotic,” he said.
Ponzo was a devoted father whose world turned upside down when Pace took the couple’s two children to Utah, Verceles said.
And when his son had trouble in school, “Jay was literally just beside himself,” Verceles added.
“He told us after he got caught that he knew he would get caught. She would turn him in or the courts would find out. “He had the means to run, but he stayed for the kids,” he said.
And although Verceles insists he and Shaw were “as tight as brothers,” there are still surprises.
For instance, Ponzo often told Verceles he was Irish-American and from New York, so Verceles was caught off-guard when he went to clean up Ponzo’s home, and discovered a pantry full of traditional Italian foods.
“I thought, ‘Well, son of a gun. This is the most Italian Irishman I’ve ever seen,’ ” he said.



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