MIAMI (AP) _ A South Florida police lieutenant charged in a New Jersey cocaine conspiracy will be released on $500,000 bail before his trial.
Miami-Dade police Lt. Ralph Mata's attorney said Monday an agreement on bail was reached with federal prosecutors. Attorney Bruce Fleisher said Mata would likely be released Tuesday.
The FBI says Mata provided protection, sensitive law enforcement information and security for a drug trafficking organization that smuggled cocaine into the U.S. They allegedly used shipments of bananas and other produce from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.
Authorities also say Mata planned a hit on a rival gang, but it did not happen.
Mata has been with the Miami-Dade Police Department since 1992. Most recently he was assigned to the internal affairs unit that investigates police wrongdoing.
Miami-Dade's Police Director J.D. Patterson releasing a statement in connection to the arrest. It reads as follows:
“On April 8, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Lieutenant Ralph Mata of the Miami-Dade Police Department. The allegations against Lt. Mata are beyond shocking and disturbing. The community’s trust is vital to us and this Department is committed to seek out, identify, and rid itself of individuals who violate that trust. We appreciate our federal partners’ work to help us achieve this goal. The extent to which my office can comment on this case is restricted to the federal investigation. Nevertheless, this matter is a source of monumental disappointment and distress to myself, our community, and the Miami-Dade Police Department family. I assure the people of Miami-Dade County that unlawful behavior is unacceptable by the Miami-Dade Police Department and we will fully cooperate with our federal law enforcement partners in this and other investigations. As we continue to move forward, I ask that we remember and respect those officers who are committed to protect and serve this community with honor every day.”
J.D. Patterson, Director
Miami-Dade Police Department