For almost 20 years, Jeffrey John Shaw (nicknamed Jay) has been living in Idaho. Neighbors describe him as someone you can count on, even if he "was never a natural rancher." Everyone knew Shaw was a transplant from Boston. But no one would have guessed his real name was Enrico Ponzo and that in his previous life, he was a mafia hitman.
Reports the New York Times,
After tracking him down in a manner they declined to describe, and watching him for more than a week, federal marshals arrested Mr. Ponzo on Feb. 7 as he drove down the rural road where he has lived for the past decade. Soon after, Jay Shaw’s friends were stunned to see him in court in Boise, his ever-present hat and goatee gone, admitting he was Mr. Ponzo, someone they had never heard of, someone living on the lam, living a lie, for nearly two decades.
Now he is being extradited to Massachusetts.
The Times's William Yardley explains further,
The most high-profile crime Mr. Ponzo is accused of is the attempted murder of Francis Salemme, aka Cadillac Frank, who eventually took charge of the fractured Patriarca crime family amid a power struggle. Mr. Salemme survived being shot by masked gunmen—prosecutors say Mr. Ponzo was one of them—outside an International House of Pancakes in Saugus, Mass., in 1989. He is now believed to be under federal witness protection.
Needless to say, when you fail to take down a crime boss, or as Tom Hagen would put it, "when a plot against the emperor failed," you pretty much have two options. One is to take that hot bath, open the veins, and bleed to death. The other is to take that long-anticipated vacation to Idaho. (Sure enough, authorities acknowledge there was a contract on Ponzo's head. In addition, he was indicted on charges of attempted murder and extortion.)
Did someone rat him out? Ponzo's now estranged girlfriend (who has taken custody of their two children) says it wasn't her. Was it too obvious he didn't belong in Idaho? Writes Yardley,
The accent from back East and his inexperience with cattle gave him away quickly as another newcomer reinventing himself in the West. “He wore bib overalls and straw hats,” said Brodie Clapier, a neighbor and a longtime rancher. “People did wear bib overalls here—in the 1930s.”
A friend of the former gangster tells the Times, "[Ponzo is] planning on coming back to Idaho. We sold his cows for him, but he told me to keep his fishing boat ready. He realizes that he wasn’t the best citizen back then, and he knows he’s got to do what he’s got to do.... But when he comes back, he’s going to be Enrico Ponzo the rancher, not Jay Shaw. He’s kind of excited about that."
If I were Ponzo, I'd be wary of any new faces in his town of Marsing. It could be someone wanting to pay him a visit. I'd also be wary of getting on that fishing boat. Next thing you know, you're saying, "Hail Mary, full of grace..."