Things That Matter

Sherriff’s Deputy Pulled Over A Grandmother And Planted Drugs In Her Car

A former Florida Sheriff’s Deputy has been sent to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty of planting drugs on the motorists he’d pulled over.

Zachary Wester, 28, was handed down the 12-year sentence on Tuesday after being faced with 19 guilty verdicts for a range of felonies that include “racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence and false imprisonment to misdemeanors such as possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia and perjury.”

Wester was a former patrol deputy for Jackson Country, Florida, who planted meth and other drugs on at least a dozen innocent motorists he’d pulled over in 2017 and 2018.

Florida prosecutor Tom Williams sought a 15-year sentence against Wester based on the charges that had been brought forth and told the Circuit Judge overseeing the case that his actions were “an egregious breach of the public’s trust.”

“People voluntarily grant their government awesome powers they deem necessary for public safety and protection,” Williams went onto explain. “With that great power comes great responsibility. The defendant made choices to violate that trust and committed crimes against those people he was sworn to protect.”

Teresa Odom, a victim of Wester’s planting tactics, gave a statement in court describing how the former sheriff’s deputy robbed her of “credibility and being a mother and grandmother over the last two and a half years.” She went onto explain that she wished Wester “no ill will” despite the fact that he could never know what he did to her “until you have children of your own.”

According to news reports, Wester held items to fabricate evidence in his patrol car.

“Investigators later seized a trove of unsecured narcotics, including methamphetamine, marijuana, as well as other drug paraphernalia, such as dozens of plastic baggies, a syringe, a pill bottle, and rolling papers from his patrol car,” explained one report. “Detectives concluded the items had been used to fabricate evidence. Wester was terminated from the force on Sept. 10, 2018. He was hired as a road deputy by Jackson County in 2016 after he earned his police certification from the law enforcement academy at Chipola College, according to his lawyer.” 

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