Sheriff's office captain found guilty of charges in connection to Codfather case

Jul 17, 2018

A Bristol County Sheriff’s Office captain has been convicted of charges relating to the "Codfather" case.

Jamie Melo, 46, of Dartmouth, was convicted of two charges in Boston federal court on July 16 in connection to the scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Melo helped Dartmouth resident and fishing mogul Carlos Rafael, the owner of Carlos Seafood, smuggle $76,000 to Portugal.

A federal jury found Melo guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States and one count of structuring the export of monetary instruments. He was acquitted of one count of bulk cash smuggling.

Melo, while employed as an administrative captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, traveled to Portugal via Logan International Airport with a group of friends and travel companions, including Rafael. At the time, he was overseeing a sheriff’s office-sponsored charity event involving transporting turkeys and canned goods to the Azores for orphans and those deported from the country.

Melo gave three of his travel companions envelopes filled with cash in an airport bathroom before going through the TSA security checkpoint, while carrying one himself. Two days after arriving in Portugal, bank records show Rafael deposited $76,000 in U.S. currency into his Portuguese bank account.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 24. The maximum penalty for both charges he was convicted of is 15 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

It was part of a scheme to smuggle cash Rafael earned through an illegal fish catching operation. Rafael pleaded guilty to a slew of charges in connection with the scheme in 2017, and was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay a $200,000 fine and $108,929 in restitution.

He filed false reports to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, claiming he caught fish classified as abundant while in actuality he was catching fish with strict federal quotas. He then sold his ill-caught fish for duffel bags filled with cash, which he then smuggled out of the country.