Carlos Rafael trial moved to later date

The trial date for seafood magnate Carlos Rafael has been moved from 9 January to 6 February, 2017, almost a full year after Rafael was arrested on charges related to a massive illegal fishing scheme allegedly stemming from the operations of his New Bedford, Massachusetts-based company Carlos Seafood.

Rafael was arrested on 26 February, 2016, when he was formally accused of formulating a scheme which involved him lying to federal authorities regarding the quantity and species of fish acquired by the 40 vessels in his fleet. Debra Messier, the bookkeeper for Carlos Seafoods, also faced charges in the case, but those charges were dropped in July 2016. Rafael, meanwhile, still faces 27 charges of conspiracy, false entry and bulk cash smuggling.

Bristol County Sheriff’s Deputy Antonio Freitas has also been charged in association with the plot, for allegedly smuggling and structuring the export of U.S. currency as a means to bring cash through restricted areas of Boston's Logan International Airport, and for aiding Rafael in funneling profits from the scheme to Portugal. Initially, Freitas and Rafael were scheduled to be tried together, however, a U.S. District Court judge has agreed to sever the cases after separate motions were filed by each defendant's respective legal teams in November 2016, reported ABC 6 News.

According to Rafael’s attorney, some of Freitas’ statements made during interviews with investigators regarding the case would infringe on Rafael’s rights when presented in a joint trial.

Read up on past developments in the case below:


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