Miami-Dade police lieutenant charged in N.J. cocaine conspiracy

Attorney for Lt. Ralph Mata calls client 'good cop'

By Associated Press , Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI - The attorney for a South Florida police lieutenant charged in a New Jersey cocaine conspiracy said his client has a stellar job record.

Miami-Dade police Lt. Ralph Mata made his first court appearance Wednesday since his arrest.

Attorney Bruce Fleischer called Mata "a good cop" and said he will seek Mata's release on bond at a hearing Monday.

Mata is facing federal cocaine distribution and conspiracy charges in New Jersey. Prosecutors allege he provided protection, sensitive law enforcement information and security for Dominican Republic drug dealers. They said Mata even planned a hit on a rival gang that was never executed.

According to the criminal complaint, Mata often traveled to New Jersey and the Dominican Republic to facilitate his drug dealer accomplices.

"I wish I knew more about the case," Fleischer told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Miami. "The government in New Jersey is not disclosing anything."

Fleischer said he will vigorously defend Mata against the charges, which carry a possible life prison sentence.

"They are serious allegations, but all serious allegations need due diligence in investigating," Fleischer said.

Mata has been with the Miami-Dade Police Department since 1992.

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