South Florida Officer Seeks Bond In Cocaine Case

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida police lieutenant charged in a New Jersey cocaine conspiracy is seeking release on bail before his trial.

A hearing is set Monday for Miami-Dade Police Lt. Ralph Mata.

The FBI says 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 say Mata planned a hit on a rival gang, although that never took place.

Attorney Bruce Fleisher says he will vigorously defend Mata against the charges, which carry a possible life prison sentence.

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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