Fishing Business Owner Indicted for Violating Regulations

fishing boatNEW BEDFORD – Carlos Rafael, owner of the largest commercial fishing businesses in the northeast, has been federally indicted on multiple counts related to Carlos Seafood, Inc.

Rafael, and a Bristol County Sheriff’s Deputy, were charged in connection with a long-running operation involving submitting falsified records to the federal government to evade fishing quotas and then smuggling the profits to Portugal.

The 64-year-old business owner was indicted on one count of conspiring to falsify reports, 25 counts of submitted falsified records and one count of bulk cash smuggling. He was previously arrested on a criminal complaint filed in February.

Deputy Antonio Freitas, 46, was indicted on one count of bulk cash smuggling and one count of structuring the export of U.S. currency. He is due for an appearance in U.S. District Court in Worcester.

The charges arose out of an undercover investigation in which federal agents posed as organized crime figures interested in buying the business.

As alleged in the indictment, Rafael misreported to NOAA about 85,812 pounds of fish, claiming they were haddock or another abundant species of high quotas, when they were in fact cod, sole and other stricter-quota species.

These details are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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