‘The Codfather’ pleads guilty to evading fishing quotas

BOSTON (AP) — A U.S. fishing magnate known as “The Codfather” pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal.

Carlos Rafael changed his plea to guilty during a hearing in federal court in Boston. Rafael is the owner of one of the nation’s largest commercial fishing operations. It includes a fleet of more than 30 vessels, 44 commercial fishing permits and the Carlos Seafood business in New Bedford.

Federal authorities say Rafael falsely claimed his vessels caught haddock or pollock, when they had actually caught other species subject to stricter quotas. He then sold the fish for cash, some of which was smuggled overseas.

He was indicted on 27 counts last May and remains free on $2 million bond. Sentencing is scheduled for June 27.

In a statement released by his attorneys, Rafael said he is prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.

“I am not proud of the things I did that brought me here, but admitting them is the right thing to do,” he said.

A prosecutor said in court that Rafael faces a prison sentence of about four to five years.

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