What About Carlos Rafael, His Permits and His Boats? [OPINION]
There has been little public talk about "The Codfather" and his fishing empire since he was sentenced to federal prison for crimes related to fishing.
In September of 2017, Judge William Young sentenced Carlos "The Codfather" Rafael to 46 months in federal prison. Additionally, Judge Young fined him $200,000 and three years supervised probation after his release from prison.
According to National Fisherman, "Rafael, 65, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, false labeling of fish, bulk cash smuggling, tax evasion and falsifying federal records" in March of 2017.
Carlos never disputed his reputation as a hard-charging businessman in the heavily regulated world of commercial fishing. He is an outlaw at heart and a successful one at that. According to the Bureau of Prisons, "The Codfather" will be released in March of 2021. He is currently serving his sentence in the closest prison to New Bedford— Ft. Devens. His lawyer requested this prison at sentencing.
There is some talk on the waterfront that he will be out sooner than 2021.
But what about the boats and the federal fishing permits that Carlos controlled? Who is going to get those and how are they going to be distributed?
Those assets are crucial to the fishermen who worked those boats and to the land-based industry in New Bedford built up around servicing the fishing industry.
I'm hearing rumors that two big players have emerged as the buyers of the boats and the all-important federal permits. One buyer wants the groundfish operation and one wants the scallop operation. There is concern locally that "Wall Street money" is coming in to buy up the local operations. The federal government will have to sign off on the sales, according to sources.
The public silence has been deafening on this situation.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.