Miami-Dade police lieutenant charged in drug conspiracy gets $500,000 bail

Lt. Ralph Mata charged in N.J. cocaine conspiracy

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MIAMI - 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 claims 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 said 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.

"The allegations against Lt. Mata are beyond shocking and disturbing," Miami-Dade Police Department Director J.D. Patterson said in a statement. "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."

Patterson went on to say 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."

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