Florida Cop Arrested On Cocaine, Murder-for-Hire Charges

By Shawn Dwyer 04/09/14

An internal affairs officer allegedly plotted to help an unnamed criminal organization to distribute cocaine, acquire illegal weapons, and murder rival dealers.

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Ralph Mata, 45, of Broward County was arrested on Tuesday in Miami Gardens, FL on aiding and abetting a narcotics trafficking organization. Investigators declined to name the organization, but did confirm that the group smuggled drugs from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

In a criminal complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Mata, a former internal affairs lieutenant for the Miami-Dade Police Department, used his status as a police officer to help the organization in a plot to distribute cocaine in the Garden State and provided them with sensitive police information, including a tip about $419,000 seized from a New Jersey home.

Mata also plotted to help the organization kill rival drug dealers. According to the complaint, the plan was for two members of the organization to pose as police officers in order to take out their intended targets.

"Ultimately, the (organization) decided not to move forward with the murder plot, but Mata still received a payment for setting up the meetings," said federal prosecutors.

He also provided the organization with illegal weapons that he transported in his carry-on luggage from Miami to the Dominican Republic.

Mata faces charges of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiring to distribute cocaine, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity. The narcotics charges each carry a maximum life sentence in prison.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.