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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mobster posed as white supremacist in rural Ohio while on the lam from the mob and the FBI


When North End gangster Enrico Ponzo went to ground out West, he tried to go native as a white supremacist, and had a bust of Adolf Hitler in his house, membership patches for two race-baiting groups, and literature on the Aryan Nation movement when U.S. marshals caught up with him in a tiny town in the Idaho foothills, according to a new government filing in the case.
The finds were reported by FBI Agent Todd I. Richards in affidavits attached to government motions to keep Ponzo behind bars while he awaits trial. One Herald source familiar with the case theorized that he spent his early fugitive years posing as a white supremacist in order to stay below the mob’s radar.
“He was more afraid of the Mafia finding him, than the government,” the source said. Idaho is seen as a hotbed of homegrown extremist activity — not the first place rivals might look for an East Coast mobster.
In the ranch home that Ponzo built himself, the FBI also found the books “Hide Your A$$ets,” “Vanish!” and “How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found,” as well as nine bogus driver’s licenses.
Ponzo fled the Bay State in 1994, while under investigation for the 1989 attempted murder of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme. He was wanted on racketeering, attempted murder, drug and assault charges. Ponzo’s lawyer could not be reached last night.
Ponzo was nabbed in February in rural Idaho, where he’d been living quietly as 42-year-old “Jay” Shaw, an aspiring rancher. As stunned neighbors looked on, the feds hauled $16,000, 34 guns, and “hundreds of thousands of rounds” of ammo from a home he once shared with a common-law wife and two kids. In March, the FBI came back, searching for a safe under the basement floor. It was empty, but a neighbor admitted he opened it. That man turned over to the FBI $102,000 in cash and gold coins worth $65,000, court documents state. The FBI said much of the cash dated from the early 1990s and represented “proceeds of Ponzo’s illegal drug dealing and extortion during and before 1994.”
Ponzo, who is now behind bars at MCI-Cedar Junction, recently asked a judge to allow him to spend the summer at his sister’s home in Swampscott. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Tabak said in court papers yesterday, “The evidence that Ponzo is a significant flight risk is overwhelming.”


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