The Illusionist

JAY SHAW ASKED AROUND AND HEARD that Bob Briggs was the man to see about hay. So when Briggs, in his aging white Ford, came plodding down Hogg Road that February afternoon, Shaw jumped into his Dodge Ram and flagged the old man down. Briggs stopped just off the side of the road and Shaw pulled up behind him.

Shaw got out of his truck and walked up to Briggs, who was gnawing on a toothpick that seemed to naturally protrude from his gum line. When Shaw asked about buying some hay for 12 head of cattle he owned, Briggs said they could work something out.

Just then a truck passed, a big black Chevy with dark tinted windows. When the truck reached the end of Hogg Road, about a half-mile away, it turned back, only this time with blue lights flashing. Behind it followed a cop car, also unmarked. And then a third police car came tearing down a nearby driveway. Soon a couple of sheriff’s deputies from Owyhee County, their lights ablaze, turned onto Hogg Road. The black Chevy screeched to a halt in front of Briggs and Shaw, and a man stepped out of the truck.

“Is that your car?” he shouted, pointing to the Dodge.

“Yes,” Shaw said.

“Are you Jay Shaw?”


“I have a federal warrant for your arrest.”

Suddenly the guy from the truck — a U.S. marshal — and another federal agent were on him, grabbing each arm and looking to handcuff him. The remaining cop cars surrounded the scene, everybody out of the vehicles, with even more cars screaming up the road.

“What are you arresting him for?” Briggs asked another U.S. marshal on the scene.

“I can’t tell you.”

And then one of the marshals leaned in and said to Shaw, “Are you Enrico Ponzo?”

“I want my lawyer,” he responded.

ONE SUMMER DAY IN 2000, Jessie Jackson and her husband were leveling hills and pouring concrete for the foundation of a house they were building on 12 acres they’d bought a few miles south of Marsing, Idaho. As they worked, a car stopped in front of them.

A man and a woman climbed out. She had creamy skin and red hair and looked young — no more than 20. She stood a couple of inches taller than the man, who was a bit older and had glasses, a protruding chin, and thick black hair.

“Hi, I’m Jay,” he said. He introduced his wife as Cara, and told Jackson they’d bought the land two lots over. They wanted to stop by and introduce themselves to their new neighbors.


Listen to Paul Kix as he talks about his experiences researching Enrico Ponzo and reveals snippets of his interviews from his Idaho visit.

  • Idella Tanna

    This is one of the best posts I have seen on this topic. Let me know if you do any further related posts and I’ll come check them out!