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Monday, September 24, 2018

WATCH: Florida Deputy Fired For Allegedly Planting Drugs During Traffic Stop

Prosecutors are dropping charges in at least two dozen cases initiated by a former Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy who’s under investigation for allegedly planting drugs on people during traffic stops.



PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors are reviewing more than 250 criminal cases involving Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zachary Wester after video emerged in the past month of him planting drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop.
Wester, 26, of Marianna, was fired Sept. 10 after more than two years as a patrol deputy with JCSO. His career now is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) after evidence arose that he had planted drugs during a February traffic stop in Marianna. As that investigation proceeds, the 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office is reviewing more than 250 cases to determine Wester’s role and whether any misconduct took place.


State Attorney Glenn Hess said his office so far has identified 263 cases in which Wester played a role, either as the lead officer, backup or an essential witness. Prosecutors said they have identified 10 cases that involved misconduct in which incarcerated people’s sentences will need to be vacated, and 15 pending cases that have been or will be dismissed. When FDLE concludes its investigation at an undetermined date, authorities will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Wester.
“It’s speculation,” Hess said. “But if you’re accusing someone of planting drugs, they must have possessed drugs. And I don’t know of any provision in the law that authorizes a deputy to possess drugs outside of evidence they seize in the pursuit of an investigation.”


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