Sheriff's officer indicted for allegedly helping "Codfather" smuggle money

Oct 27, 2017

A captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office has been indicted on charges connected to a scheme to help fishing mogul Carlos Rafael smuggle profits from ill-caught fish to Portugal.

Jamie Melo, 45, of Dartmouth, was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 25 on one count of bulk cash smuggling, one count of structuring, and one count of conspiracy. He was arrested in August, and was released on a $10,000 bond.

The charges stem from Melo’s alleged involvement in helping Carlos Seafood Inc. owner Carlos Rafael smuggle money he earned by selling illegally caught fish to Portugal. In one incident outlined in charging documents, Melo and several acquaintances allegedly smuggled a total of $50,000 to Portugal through Logan Airport.

In that case, Melo was overseeing a Sheriff’s Office-sponsored trip to the Azores to deliver Thanksgiving turkeys to deportees in the country. Charging documents allege that before departing to the Azores on the November 10, 2015 flight, Melo handed several acquaintances who would be on the flight envelopes containing a sum of money just below the federal reporting threshold – a tactic known as “structuring.” The money was then allegedly collected and deposited into a Portuguese bank account.

During federal agents’ investigation of Rafael, who pleaded guilty to a 28-counnt indictment and was sentenced to 46 months in prison in September, Rafael commented to an undercover agent that he used members of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office to smuggle money, including one officer he described as “the captain at the prison” – alleged to be Melo.

Melo was the first of two members of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office to be arrested in the case. Antonio Freitas, 47, of Taunton was sentenced to one year and one day in jail on October 23 following his conviction on charges of bulk cash smuggling and structuring.