Codfather’s wife, partner claim rights to boats; sheriff’s captain charged with smuggling

Conceicao Rafael, wife of Carlos “The Codfather” Rafael, has filed in federal district court to claim rights to 11 boats that may be forfeited as a result of his guilty plea.

Carlos Rafael was arrested after a federal sting operation in which he allegedly exposed a broad scheme to falsify federal fish tickets, evade taxes and smuggle cash to Portugal. His guilty plea included a preliminary order of forfeiture, dated July 13, that allowed a 60-day window for anyone with legal interest in the listed properties to file a petition.

On Monday, Aug. 28., Conceicao Rafael filed a 45-page petition to claim her rights to 11 of the 13 boats that could be forfeited. Joao Camara also filed a petition to claim ownership rights through R and C Fishing Corp. to the Southern Crusader II.

Both parties claim the assets should not be subject to forfeiture because “at the time of any illegal act” neither of the claimants was “privy to any illegal act.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, James Melo, a captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was arrested and charged in connection with helping Carlos Rafael smuggle profits to Portugal. Melo, of Dartmouth, Mass., was charged on three counts of bulk cash smuggling, structuring and conspiracy. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Former Bristol County Sheriff’s Deputy Antonio Freitas was convicted of smuggling in July and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 12.

Rafael is scheduled to appear in Federal District Court in Boston on Sept. 25 and 26 for sentencing.

Read more on Carlos Rafael’s trial, plea and sentencing.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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