Swansea Politician Facing Charges of Vandalism, Witness Intimidation
A member of the Swansea planning board will soon be arraigned on charges of vandalism and witness intimidation after allegedly destroying campaign signs of other politicians and then attempting to get them to drop the charges, with the embattled former Fall River mayor also investigated for making calls on his behalf to try and get the charges dropped.
Back on April 12 of this year, incumbent Swansea Selectman Chris Carreiro defeated challenger Melissa Afonso in the town’s election, garnering 63 percent of the vote. Carreiro’s twin brother Jonathan Carreiro, a member of the town’s planning board, is then alleged to have pulled over in front of a Sycamore Street home. In video obtained by WBSM News from the address's home security camera, a man alleged to be Carreiro damaged a campaign sign on the property.
According to Swansea Police, officers responded April 12 at 10:41 p.m. to a Sycamore Street address for a report of vandalism. “Following an initial investigation, during which police reviewed video surveillance footage from the home, police determined that a 32-year-old Swansea man had driven his motor vehicle onto the lawn of the home, running over two campaign lawn signs,” police said in an email in response to a request from WBSM News. “Video footage also showed the man getting out of his vehicle and kicking one of the signs. Police notified the two candidates whose signs were damaged, and both decided to press charges against the suspect.”
Although police have not formally named the suspect, they did say the "subject" of the complaint is being arraigned later this month on two counts of malicious destruction of property less than $1200, and a civil citation was issued for trespass with a motor vehicle.
In a text message obtained by WBSM News, a person identifying themselves as “Jon Carreiro” wrote to one of the victims: “I am sorry for carrying on the way I did last night and messing with your signs. I wasn’t myself to say the least and I had no business behaving that way. It was an emotional night for me. If you would like I would be more than happy to fix them and bend them back. You have always been nice to me I shouldn’t have done that.”
Police confirmed that "the suspect" had reached out to a victim in the case.
“On April 20, Swansea Police were contacted by a victim involved in the case, who alleged that the suspect had contacted him in an effort to get the charges to be dropped. Another summons was filed by Swansea Police for the charge of intimidation of a witness,” police said.
With Carreiro’s arraignment pending, the story took another twist last month, with both he and former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia investigated for potential witness intimidation charges in relation to trying to get Afonso to drop the charges against Carreiro. Ultimately, police decided it was not warranted to charge Correia or to add an additional charge against Carreiro.
The Carreiro brothers had both been associates of Correia in the past, including Jonathan Carreiro working on the SnoOwl app, which was at the heart of Correia’s federal court case back in May of this year. Correia was found guilty on 21 of the 24 federal charges he faced as he stood accused of defrauding investors in SnoOwl before becoming mayor, and then extorting marijuana companies seeking to do business in Fall River once he was in office.
Jonathan Carreiro testified on Correia’s behalf in the federal trial, and Chris Carreiro was identified by witnesses as having represented Correia in the past.
According to a Swansea Police incident report obtained by WBSM News, Afonso visited the police station on July 18 requesting to speak with an officer. She recounted to the reporting officer that Carreiro had destroyed political signs for both her and Water District Commissioner candidate James Pelletier, with Pelletier being the party that Carreiro contacted in order to try to get the charges dropped.
Afonso also reported that her friend Jessica Machado, who is a host on the Fall River RAW podcast, was contacted by Correia, who according to the police incident report “asked Jessica to do him a favor by speaking to both Melissa and Jonathan regarding the incident that took place” on April 12.
“Jasiel informed Jessica that Jonathan had received his notice of his upcoming clerk magistrate’s hearing and was upset and requested that Jessica try to convince Melissa to drop the charges against Jonathan. Jasiel told Jessica that he would be willing to give her an exclusive interview with him prior to his impending incarceration,” the report stated. “Jasiel also told Jessica that Jonathan’s mental health was not good and he was in a bad place because he was on the brink of losing his son. Melissa stated that when she heard this she became fearful that Jonathan would retaliate against her if she did not agree to drop the charges against him.”
Swansea Police then spoke with Machado on July 21, who confirmed Afonso’s story and told the officer that she had proposed speaking about the Carreiro case on the podcast but it was nixed by the other hosts, and that “within a half hour from this time she then received a Facebook phone call from Jasiel Correia who asked her to do him a favor and speak with Jonathan but not to tell anyone about it,” the report stated.
Machado told Correia she would reach out to Carreiro, which she did by text, planning to talk with him on the phone the next morning. Carreiro agreed, but then called her the same night and said “he didn’t trust that she wouldn’t have Melissa listening to their conversation if it was at a planned time.”
“He told her that he made a mistake by destroying the political signs and he has apologized for it. He also told Jessica that he has upcoming charges for intimidation of a witness and that he can’t have an additional felony on his record because he has been in trouble in the past,” the report said.
“Jonathan also accused Jessica of forwarding the photo of his summons to appear to court to the Herald News. Jessica then asked Jonathan ‘what do you want from me?’ and Jonathan replied ‘talk to Melissa, I’m a human being and try to get her to drop the charges.’ Jessica asked Jonathan if he wanted her to set up a meeting between Jonathan and Melissa and he stated that he did not know if he could meet with her so she asked him ‘do you want me to talk to her?’ and he replied ‘yes’ and reiterated that he wanted her to know that he was sorry. Jessica advised Jonathan that she would talk to Melissa for him.”
Machado told police that she feared retaliation from both the Carreiro brothers and Correia for providing the statement to police. However, no charges are being brought against Correia in the incident and no additional charges are being brought against Carreiro.
The reporting officer concluded in the report, “After conferring with my supervisors, it has been determined that neither Jasiel nor Jonathan’s calls or actions met the criteria of intimidation of a witness."
The officer also determined that "Jasiel offering an interview to Jessica, who is not a victim or witness to the original charges, did not meet the elements as his interview is not anything of value," and that "Jonathan speaking with Jessica also did not meet the elements as she is not a victim or witness to original charges and he did not threaten, intimidate or harass her.”