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Inmates Freed Thanks to Allegedly Crooked Deputy

Zachary Wester is accused of planting meth on unsuspecting drivers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2018 12:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A former Florida deputy was allegedly so corrupt that dozens of people arrested by him are going free, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Zachary Wester, a Jackson County deputy from 2016 to 2018, reportedly planted methamphetamine on unaware drivers during needless traffic stops—and that's how it appeared to at least one state official who saw this body-cam footage of Wester searching a vehicle on Feb. 15. Per the Jackson County Floridian, State Attorney Glenn Hess wrote that stills from the video "show Deputy Wester place a clear plastic baggie in a white pickup truck that he had stopped and for which he had been given permission to search."

Now officials are vacating sentences for at least eight people behind bars, dropping charges for 30-plus defendants, and investigating a total of 263 cases involving Wester during his Jackson County years. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement started investigating Wester on Aug. 1 and he was fired Sept. 10, but no charges have yet been filed against the 26-year-old. His attorney declined to comment in view of the ongoing investigation. (Read more corruption stories.)

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