Tallahassee, Florida-Prosecutors have leveled a number of new accusations against former Florida Adjutant accused of planting drugs on a careless driver during a fake traffic stop Recorded by his own body camera.
Zachary Wester, a former adjutant in Jackson County, Florida, whose career in law enforcement collapsed in 2018 after allegations came to light, included extortion, official misconduct, perjury, and perjury last year. He was charged with a total of 52 charges. Evidence, false confinement and possession of drugs. The charges stem from Wester’s arrest of 11 different people.
Last month, prosecutors submitted to Wester amendments claiming 20 additional counts, including five allegedly his victims. The accusation resulted from traffic suspensions in 2017 and 2018, when drivers or passengers were arrested on suspicion of drugs, including possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.
Wester sang, “Pray for Merry Christmas,” in one of the arrests quoted in the new indictment, looking for the Chevrolet Tahoe pulled in the Loews parking lot in Marianna, Florida.
While Wester’s body camera was in motion, there was an entire 40-minute traffic outage that led to the driver’s arrest.
“Man, I’m in the spirit of Christmas,” he said as he ran through the SUV. “That is, I like to hum the songs in case something happens to the jury, so they’re not just sitting somewhere … it’s like freezing. “
In another new case, Wester stopped a woman with two children in a car because one of the brake lights broke, according to arrest reports. After searching the vehicle, Wester claimed that some buggies suspected of being methamphetamine were found on the front console under the wallet. She denied it belonged to her. However, Wester arrested her for possessing a felony and endangering her child because she had one.
Four of the newly identified victims arrested by Wester were accused of being thrown before the sentence. However, in one case, the woman was sentenced to nearly a year in county prison after not challenging possession of the controlled substance. A few months later, the judge ordered her decision and denial of charges to be revoked, and the prosecutor withdrew the indictment.
The Florida Law Enforcement Agency began investigating Wester in August 2018 after rumors of a dubious arrest began to spread to court. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office fired him a month after an internal investigation.
During an internal investigation, his colleague searched his car and found a wealth of unmarked evidence, including 42 drug-related equipment, 10 stimulants, and 5 marijuana. The item was similar to what he planted in the driver, the investigator said.
After nearly a year of investigation, the FDLE agent arrested him at his home in Crawfordville last July. He pleaded not guilty and later denied the accusation through his lawyer. Wester’s leading Tallahassee lawyer, Ryan Davis, declined to comment.
Bill Edins, a state lawyer for the First Judiciary Circuit, said Wester’s investigation continued after his arrest, leading to recent accusations. He said he did not expect additional charges against either Wester or his former colleague in connection with the probe.
“Our investigation is complete unless someone provides us with additional information,” Edins said.
The prosecutor reviewed about 300 proceedings involving Wester and eventually withdrew charges against about 120 defendants.
Wester is expected to be tried in the summer or fall, Edines said.
“I don’t take drugs”
Wester broke into the Christmas song after stopping Chris Spheres at Marianna on June 3, 2018. He and another lieutenant searched his Tahoe and found a plastic container, probably containing methamphetamine. Meanwhile, Fears and his wife stood next to the police car.
“It looks there,” Wester said.
“What’s wrong?” Fear was clearly stunned by the discovery.
“In just a few minutes, I’ll tell you to put your hands behind,” Wester put on a cuff.
“I don’t take drugs,” Fears said. “I don’t take drugs.”
Wester used a field kit to test for methamphetamine-positive substances.
“Man this is bullish —-” Fears said. “I didn’t do anything. All I do is take my ass to work.”
Fear was arrested for possession of controlled material, detained the next day and put in jail overnight. On July 10, then state lawyer Christina Pumphrey said: Who helped clarify Wester’s claim, Withdrew the accusation against him.
“We cannot prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt based on the available and competent evidence,” she wrote in a court filing.
Fear’s, among more than 20 people suing Wester and the Sheriff’s Office in federal court, said he was unable to discuss his case in detail due to the proceedings. However, he admitted that Wester’s arrest completely overturned his life.
“When he arrested me, I lost my job and had to sell almost anything of value to keep the roof overhead,” Fears said. “I couldn’t find a job because no one wanted to hire a new stimulant arrester. I and my wife broke up for a while because it was so stressful.”
Follow reporter Jeff Burlew on Twitter. @JeffBurlew
This article was originally published in Tallahassee Democrat: Former Deputy Zachary Wester of Jackson County, Florida receives new accusations