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A former sheriff’s deputy in Florida was arrested Wednesday on charges that he routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions, planted drugs and then arrested them on made-up drug charges.
Former Jackson County deputy Zachary Wester, 26, was arrested in Crawford, Florida after a nearly year-long investigation, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
FDLE - Investigation - August - Request - Jackson
FDLE began its investigation last August at the request of Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
It found that Wester routinely pulled over citizens for alleged minor traffic infractions, planted drugs inside their vehicles and arrested them on fabricated drug charges.
JCSO - Body - Camera - Policy - Recordings
He also circumvented JCSO’s body camera policy and tailored his recordings to conceal his criminal activity.
Authorities began investigating him after noticing his name as arresting officer on a disproportionate number of drug arrests.
Christina - Pumphrey - Assistant - State - Attorney
Christina Pumphrey, a former assistant state attorney in Marianna who was involved in the case, was reported as being concerned that his vehicle searches were not always conducted legally, and his written affidavits did not always match what she would watch in video footage.
'There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,' Chris Williams, an assistant special agent in charge for the FDLE in Pensacola, said in a statement.
Citizens - Jackson - County - Patience - Investigation
'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.'
Wester - Felony - Charges - Racketeering - Misconduct
Wester faces felony charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment.
He is also charged with misdemeanor perjury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Wester - May
Wester was hired in May 2016 and worked...
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