A Florida police officer has been arrested on suspicion of 52 counts of planting meth and different avenue drugs on motorists, and is dealing with an enormous raft of each felony and misdemeanour costs.
The Internal Affairs division of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had been investigating Deputy Zach Wester for over 9 months earlier than his arrest. He’s being held with out bail on the Wakulla County Jail and is predicted to seem in courtroom on Thursday on suspicion of quite a few felonies together with false imprisonment, fabricating proof, and possession of a managed substance.
Investigators imagine Wester pulled residents over for alleged minor visitors infractions earlier than planting drugs of their autos and arresting them. He was additionally discovered to intentionally swap off his physique digital camera in order to not incriminate himself.
Prosecutors reviewed some 300 instances involving Wester, dropping costs in 120 of them. The present raft of costs towards the cop are based mostly on his arrests of simply 11 individuals. Under Florida legislation, Wester may resist 13-and-a-half years in jail, although it’s on the decide’s discretion ought to they decide to offer him extra time.
Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts reportedly described the allegations as “disheartening” and “a very serious matter.”
Investigators have assigned a workforce of 10 particular brokers and two crime analysts who’ve logged over 1,400 hours on the case thus far. “There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,”State Attorney William Eddins stated.
Christina Pumphrey, a former assistant state legal professional in Marianna who helped carry Wester’s misconduct to mild, stated she’s “glad he’s obviously facing charges,” however famous that it doesn’t give the individuals he arrested their time or a refund – and it doesn’t expunge their data.