By: Capitol News Service
July 11, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The fired Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy charged with planting drugs on drivers made a first appearance in court Thursday morning.
Zachary Wester appeared via video link from the Wakulla County jail.
He faces two dozen counts ranging from drug possession to conspiracy, to false imprisonment.
A judge set his bond at $149,500. Defense Attorney Tim Jansen said he expects Wester to be released on bond Thursday.
Still up in the air is whether Wester will be allowed to remain living in Wakulla County, or if he must stay in Jackson County where the case will be tried.
Wester was arrested Wednesday morning in Crawfordville.
FDLE had been investigating Wester since August 2018. Agents say the deputy routinely pulled drivers over for minor traffic infractions, planted drugs inside their vehicles and arrested them on fabricated drug charges.
Authorities say Wester circumvented Jackson County’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 am proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our agents and analysts on this case to ensure justice is served.”
“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.”
FDLE says more than 1,300 minutes of recorded video was analyzed over their investigation.
Authorities say this remains an active case and they are also reviewing Wester’s work as a sheriff’s deputy in Liberty county in 2015 and 2016.
If you have additional information about Zachary Wester regarding this case, please contact FDLE Pensacola at (800) 226-8574.