LA COSA NOSTRA ASSOCIATE APPREHENDED ON CHARGES OF CONSPIRACY TO MURDER, RACKETEERING
BOSTON, Mass. - ENRICO M. PONZO, formerly of Boston, was apprehended last night in Idaho, after fleeing Massachusetts in 1994 following state drug charges. In 1997, Ponzo was charged, along with 14 others, in a 40-count federal indictment with, among other things, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and plotting to murder and attempting to murder individuals who were loyal to a rival faction of the Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra headed at the time by Francis P. Salemme, and others whom the defendants viewed as rivals in their efforts to control organized criminal activity in the greater Boston area.
At the time of his arrest, PONZO was living in Idaho under the assumed name of Jeffrey John Shaw. PONZO is scheduled to appear in United States District Court in Idaho tomorrow.
In April of 1997, 15 men allegedly comprising a dissident faction of the Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra who attempted to wrest control of the Family from Salemme, were indicted on charges of attempting to murder Salemme, and murdering, plotting to murder, and attempting to murder others who were loyal to Salemme. The indictment alleged that members of this dissident faction committed three murders (the murders of Richard Devlin, Joseph Souza and Paul Strazzulla), attempted to kill seven other individuals (Salemme, Richard Gillis, Joseph C. Cirame, Michael P. Prochilo, Stephen Rossetti, Timothy Larry O'Toole, and Matteo Trotto) and plotted the murder of an additional eight persons (Mark Rossetti, Ralph Rossetti, Richard Floramo, Mark Prochilo, Robert Paleo, Robert Luisi, Jr., Lonnie Hilson and Enrico M. PONZO).
ROBERT F. CARROZZA, also known as “Bobby Russo,” pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months to be served on and after a 19-year federal sentence he was already serving; MICHAEL P. ROMANO, SR. pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 years; ANTHONY CIAMPI pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years; SEAN THOMAS COTE died while in custody; MARK SPISAK pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 ½ years; JOHN J. PATTI, III was convicted after trial and sentenced to 30 years; EUGENE A. RIDA, JR., also known as “Gino,” pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years; JOHN M. ARCIERO pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 ½ years; VINCENT MICHAEL MARINO also known as “Gigi Portalla,” was convicted after a jury trial and sentenced to 35 years; NAZZARO RALPH SCARPA pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years; PAUL A. DECOLOGERO was acquitted after trial; CHRISTOPHER PUOPOLO was acquitted after trial; ANTHONY ALLAN DIAZ pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years; and LEO M. BOFFOLI, also known as “Chipper,” pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years.
According to the indictment, the defendants “acted to usurp control of the Patriarca Family,” “violated the rules of La Cosa Nostra by plotting and attempting to murder Salemme” and others, and “intended to replace Salemme as Boss of the Family, and thereby, be able to 'make' new members of the Family from among their group.”
PONZO is charged with the attempted murder of Salemme in Saugus, Mass., on June 16, 1989 as part of a pattern of racketeering activity. PONZO is also charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to murder multiple individuals in aid of racketeering, three counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, assault with a dangerous weapon and the attempted murder of Joseph C. Cirame on September 16, 1994. PONZO is also charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, as well as extortion and extortion conspiracy.
If convicted, PONZO faces up to 20 years on the RICO charges; up to 10 years for conspiracy to murder; up to life imprisonment on the use and carrying of a firearm, with mandatory minimum consecutive sentences of five to 30 years on those counts; up to 20 years for assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder; up to 20 years for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; and up to 20 years for the extortion and extortion conspiracy charges.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; United States Attorney Wendy Olson of the District of Idaho; James McTighe, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Salt Lake City Field Office; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; Chief Deputy Marshal Kevin Platts for the District of Idaho; and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.