Mass. fishing captain admits hindering Coast Guard net inspection

In this Oct. 14, 2014, file photo, Carlos Rafael talks on the phone at Homer's Wharf near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, Mass.
In this Oct. 14, 2014, file photo, Carlos Rafael talks on the phone at Homer's Wharf near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, Mass. –John Sladewski / AP

BOSTON (AP) — A former Massachusetts fishing boat captain has pleaded guilty to interfering with a U.S. Coast Guard inspection involving a vessel owned by a fishing magnate nicknamed The Codfather.

Thomas Simpson pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to destruction or removal of property subject to inspection.

Prosecutors say the South Portland, Maine, resident was the captain of a New Bedford commercial fishing boat in 2014 when he dumped a fishing net into the ocean in defiance of Coast Guard commands to haul it in.

A salvage company retrieved the net and found it was in violation of commercial fishing regulations.

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The vessel was among several owned by The Codfather, Carlos Rafael, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and false labeling and fish identification and was sentenced to prison.

The 57-year-old Simpson faces up to five years in prison at sentencing.