December 01, 2015
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1100
Miami-Dade, Florida, Police Officer Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Role In Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
NEWARK, N.J. - -Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division and Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey announced a former lieutenant with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Internal Affairs, was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for his role in a narcotics conspiracy, including purchasing six firearms for a drug trafficking organization and smuggling those weapons through security checkpoints at the Miami International Airport.
Ralph Mata, 46, a/k/a “the Milk Man,” of Broward County, Florida, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton to one count of aiding and abetting a narcotics conspiracy, one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
From June 2012 through November 2012, Mata purchased at least six firearms from a gun store in Florida, which ultimately were provided to members of the Juan Arias Drug Trafficking Organization. Using his prior experience as a lieutenant assigned to the Miami International Airport, as well as his law enforcement contacts at the airport, Mata and others smuggled the six firearms through airport security checkpoints and onto a commercial airliner destined for the Dominican Republic.
Mata also provided advice, guidance and counsel to Juan Arias regarding the means and methods the drug trafficking organization should use to import and distribute cocaine. Mata transported narcotics proceeds for the organization.
He also engaged in monetary transactions in property derived from the sale of narcotics. On March 28, 2013, Mata traveled from Miami to New Jersey and received approximately $60,000 in narcotics proceeds from Juan Arias and others. Using a portion of that $60,000, Mata made separate $10,000 cash deposits at two different bank locations in Fort Lee, New Jersey. As payment for his assistance to the drug trafficking organization, Mata accepted a total of approximately $100,000 in cash and gifts from the Juan Arias drug trafficking organization.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Mata to five years of supervised release and fined $15,000. As part of his plea, Mata must forfeit the $75,405 seized on April 9, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski; special agents of the FBI’s Garret Mountain Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Miami FBI, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Miami-Area Corruption Task Force and the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, New York, for their assistance with the investigation.