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 45-year-old officer, who is also known as "the Milk Man," is charged in what authorities describe as a scheme to distribute cocaine in New Jersey and elsewhere.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman of New Jersey said Mata also orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot, provided firearms and sensitive law enforcement information and helped transport of drug proceeds.
According a criminal complaint, Mata and drug traffickers discussed a plot to kill rival drug dealers that had threatened to kill members of the group Mata was working for. Authorities say Mata arranged to pay two people dressed like police officers $150,000 per target. The drug dealers Mata is accused of working for ultimately abandoned the plot but still paid Mata for setting up the meetings, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Mata bought several guns to provide protection and security to the drug dealers in the Dominican Republic. Authorities say he took the weapons to the Dominican Republic on two trips between October 2012 and January 2013. Some of the weapons were later recovered by law enforcement.
Authorities say Mata also used his law enforcement position to learn about the seizure of $419,000 in drug proceeds from a Bergen County, N.J., home. Dealers had initially suspected the money was stolen by another criminal.
Mata has been with the Miami-Dade Police Department since 1992. Most recently he was assigned to the internal affairs unit.