Florida deputy accused of planting drugs in traffic stops

MARIANNA, Fla. (AP) — A former sheriff’s deputy in the Florida Panhandle has been arrested on charges that he routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions, planted drugs and then arrested them on made-up drug charges.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement statement says former Jackson County deputy Zachary Wester was arrested Wednesday in Crawford, Florida.

Wester is facing felony charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment. He also faces misdemeanor charges of perjury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The FDLE began investigating Wester last August at the request of the sheriff’s office. The Tallahassee Democrat reports he was later fired. Prosecutors had to drop charges in nearly 120 cases.

Online court records showed no attorney listed for Wester.

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