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Former Jackson County deputy sentenced to 12+ years in prison for planting drugs at traffic stops

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT
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MARIANNA, Fla. (WCTV) - A former Jackson County deputy convicted of planting drugs during traffic stops has been sentenced to 12 years, six months and eight days in prison.

Former Jackson County Deputy Zachary Wester was convicted in May on 19 charges, including racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, perjury, false imprisonment, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Jurors found him guilty of planting evidence during three traffic stops and falsifying the accompanying arrest reports. He was found not guilty on charges in nine other traffic stops.

Wester was fired from the Jackson County Sheriff’s office in September 2018 and the sheriff requested an outside investigation. FDLE arrested the deputy in July 2019. Agents say they analyzed more than 1,300 minutes of video from Wester’s body-worn camera to build the case against him.

Wester denies planting the drugs and falsifying reports and testified in his own defense during the trial.

Last week, Wester asked a judge to release him from jail until the outcome of an appeal is determined. His appellate attorney filed the request, saying “Mr. Wester will diligently prosecute his appeal.”

The attorney asked the judge to consider the request immediately after the sentencing hearing.

Wester was given a credit of 58 days served.

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