South Florida officer gets bail in cocaine case

Associated Press

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. The organization is accused of using shipments of bananas and other produce from the Dominican Republic and Ecuador to smuggle the drugs.

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.

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