MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Bond has been set for a Miami-Dade Police Lieutenant accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine.
During a pre-trial detention hearing Monday, Lt. Ralph Mata’s attorney asked the judge to set bond at a reasonable amount. The government countered that Mata should be held without bond because he was a flight risk and danger to the community.
In the end, the judge set bond at half a million dollars, according to the Associated Press.
The FBI says Lt. Ralph 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.
Mata allegedly helped transport narcotics proceeds for the drug organization in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash plus a Rolex watch valued at $10,000, according to the criminal complaint filed in the US District Court in New Jersey..
He also allegedly used information available to him as a law enforcement officer to find out information about the seizure of $419,000 in narcotics proceeds from a New Jersey residence which were seized by law enforcement.
Authorities also say Mata planned to have police impersonators kill two drug dealers for approximately $300,000. Although the murders never took place, Mata allegedly still received payment for setting up some meetings.
“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,” said Miami-Dade Police Department Director J.D. Patterson in a statement. “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.”
Mata is charged with aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiring to distribute cocaine, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity specifically, drug proceeds.
The 21-year veteran of MDPD went by the nickname “The Milk Man” according to the complaint.
Mata worked in the internal affairs unit prior to his arrest.