Deputy allegedly plants drugs in vehicles during traffic stops

Published: Sep. 20, 2018 at 5:44 PM CDT
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According to State Attorney Glenn Hess, more than 260 cases are being reviewed after former Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Zachary Wester allegedly planted drugs on people while conducting traffic stops.

"We have an attorney working full time on reviewing those cases to ensure that cases that are good cases and viable, that do not involve any questionable conduct, go forward in the court system," Hess said.

Of the 260 cases, so far at least ten of them are being corrected, meaning charges are being dropped for those who were sentenced due to Wester's involvement.

State officials say evidence in video footage has led them to the reviews.

"The video had to do with the motor vehicle stop and the search of the vehicle after the stop and the things I saw in the video caused me some concern about his professionalism," Hess said.

In a letter to the Jackson County Sheriff, Hess says the video shows Wester placing a clear plastic bag in a white pickup truck that he stopped. The driver of the truck was then arrested for possession of meth, a charge she promptly denied.

The investigation is going back about two and a half years, as long as Wester had been employed with the Sheriff's Office and it still remains open.

"We've been taking steps to correct a situation that was unacceptable," Hess said.

Wester has been terminated from the Sheriff's Office, but no charges have been filed at this time.

State officials are waiting on a full report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before moving forward.