The Codfather reports to prison for 46-month sentence

Carlos Rafael, former kingpin of the New Bedford, Mass., waterfront brought down by federal authorities for skirting fish quotas and taxes, surrendered to authorities on Monday, Nov. 6 to begin his 46-month prison sentence.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed that Rafael, also called “the Codfather,” will begin his sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, which was described by the bureau as an “administrative security federal medical center with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.” The medical center at the facility houses 1,001 inmates, while the minimum security camp has 137 inmates.

During his sentencing in September, Rafael’s attorney requested that the sentence be served at Fort Devens. It is unclear if the request was made as the result of a medical condition.

While the criminal elements of Rafael’s case are now closed, there is still the question of what to do with the boats and permits used in his illegal scheme.

Prosecutors wanted Rafael to forfeit 13 boats and 13 groundfish permits in their filing but U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young, after initially hesitating and questioning the constitutionality of such a high-value forfeiture, opted for a forfeiture involving more permits and fewer boats. Rafael was ordered to surrender four boats and their 34 related permits valued at $2.6 million, but only four of those permits were for groundfish.

The U.S. Attorney’s office has filed notice that it intends to appeal Young’s forfeiture order on the grounds that it should have been far more substantial.

NMFS has yet to make a decision on the fate of any forfeited assets. There is also a proposal on the table for Rafael to sell his entire fleet to the New Bedford-based Canastra brothers for $93 million, a deal federal authorities would have to approve.

About the author

Samuel Hill

Samuel Hill is associate editor for National Fisherman.

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