Ex-South Texas school officer gets prison for drug trade

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A former South Texas police officer is going to prison for making fraudulent traffic stops to enable a crew to steal drug loads from traffickers for resale.

A federal judge sentenced Juan Fernando Mata on Tuesday to almost 11 years in federal prison. That’s after the 40-year-old former Donna school district police officer was convicted in McAllen of conspiring to possess more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana with the intent to distribute it.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Mata conducted the traffic stops in January 2016 and May 2017, enabling the “rip crew” to steal about 9 kilograms (20 pounds) of cocaine and about 400 pounds (180 kilograms) of marijuana.

The prison sentence of 10 years and 10 months is to be followed by four years of supervised release.

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