Zach Wester

Former Jackson County Deputy Zach Wester Wester, 28, faces a maximum sentence of 85-plus years in state prison on charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, false imprisonment, possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia and perjury. Wester was charged with planting drugs on eleven people. The incidents form the basis of the 67 counts against him on charges of racketeering, official misconduct, perjury, fabricating evidence, false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wester was found guilty on 19 out of 67 charges. He was cleared of the other 48 counts. The charges stemmed from traffic stops in 2017 and 2018 in which drivers or passengers were arrested on drug charges including possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement started its investigation into Zach Wester in August 2018 and believes his actions resulted in more than 100 people being wrongly charged. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office fired him a month later after an internal investigation. In most of the incidents reported in the affidavit, Wester's body-cam was either not recording, or only recorded part of the stop, whether that was the initial connection with the driver, or after a search of the car had already started. Investigators believe that Wester placed drugs and other paraphernalia inside at least 16 victims' cars when his camera was off. Wester could face a maximum sentence of more than 200 years in state prison if convicted on all counts.