Jury trial for former Jackson County deputy accused of planting drugs to begin next month

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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)–In one month, a Jackson County jury will hear the high-profile case of the State of Florida versus Zachary Wester Wester is a former deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office accused of planting drugs on individuals during traffic stops and arresting them for fabricated charges.

In August 2018, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened an investigation into Zachary Wester at the request of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation revealed Wester routinely pulled over citizens for alleged minor traffic infractions, planted drugs inside their vehicles, and arrested them on fabricated drug charges. Wester circumvented the body camera policy of the Sheriff’s Office and tailored his recordings to conceal his criminal activity. The reported incidents date back to 2016.

He was arrested in July 2019 on felony charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance, and false imprisonment. He faces 76 charges.

On May 10th, a jury in Jackson County will hear testimony from both sides and decide Wester’s fate. Wester is being represented by Ryan Davis. Court officials say the trial is expected to last three weeks.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, the public is not allowed in the courtroom and only one broadcast outlet will be allowed inside at a time. The broadcasting outlet in the courtroom will rotate every week.

News 13 will be following the trial closely. You can download our Mypanhandle mobile app for up-to-date information when the trial begins.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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