Panhandle deputy arrested for planting drugs on drivers

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FDLE agents arrested Zachary Wester, 26, on felony charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment. Wester, a former deputy with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested this morning in Crawfordville, Fla.  He is also charged with misdemeanor perjury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

FDLE began its investigation last August at the request of Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.  The investigation shows Wester routinely pulled over citizens for alleged minor traffic infractions, planted drugs inside their vehicles and arrested them on fabricated drug charges. Wester circumvented JCSO’s body camera policy and tailored his recordings to conceal his criminal activity.

“There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,” said FDLE Pensacola Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chris Williams.

“I would like to thank the citizens of Jackson County for their patience during the investigation and my staff for continuing to serve our citizens during this difficult time,” said Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts.  “I also appreciate FDLE and the State Attorney’s Office for their commitment to this investigation.”

During the investigation, FDLE agents analyzed over 1,300 minutes of recorded video and logged over 1,400 working hours on the case. 

Wester was booked into the Wakulla County Jail and is being held without bond.  The Office of the State Attorney, First Judicial Circuit, will prosecute the case.

This case remains active.  If you have additional information about Zachary Wester regarding this case, please contact FDLE Pensacola at (800) 226-8574.

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