NEW BEDFORD - Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson says it's "upsetting" that one of his deputies is facing federal charges in connection to the Carlos Rafael case.

Deputy Sheriff Antonio Freitas is accused of helping the New Bedford fishing mogul smuggle large sums of cash through Logan International Airport so Rafael could deposit the money in an account in Portugal.

Sheriff Hodgson flat out denies allegations that he posted Freitas in such a position to help Rafael. "There was a suggestion, locally, that somehow Mr. Rafael pressured me to promote the deputy," said Hodgson.

The claim comes from Rafael, himself. Hodgson says he's never been swayed or pressured to abuse his power as Sheriff. "Nobody pressures me into appointing anybody. That's my sole authority; my sole decision."

A U.S. District Court judge has separated the trials of Rafael and Freitas, due to comments Freitas made to law enforcement during their investigation that will be used in court against himself and Rafael.

Rafael faces charges of evading federal regulations by falsely reporting the fish his boats were catching.

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