Florida Deputy Arrested for Planting Drugs on Dozens of Victims over Two Years
A Florida deputy was arrested Wednesday for pulling people over for minor traffic offenses, then planting drugs in their car and arresting them on fabricated drug charges.
Zachary Wester was charged with racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment as well as misdemeanor perjury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
He was fired from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office last September after investigators reviewed more than 300 cases where he made arrests between 2016 to 2018, watching more than 1,000 hours of bodycam footage and dropping charges in 120 cases.
One man, Justin Caleb Creamer, was arrested twice by Wester, spending 30 days in jail after the first arrest and seven months in prison after the second arrest before charges were dropped and he was released.
Another woman, Theresa Odom, spent three weeks in jail after he fabricated drug charges against her. Odom's arrest took place last February.
And another woman, Monica Willis, whose arrest was reported by local media in March 2018 was exonerated six months later
At least nine victims have filed federal lawsuits against the agency and Willis, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
"That's not mine," said Odom when told by Wester he had found drugs in her car. "What is it?"
The lesson from Odom's arrest and many of the others is that she consented to having her car searched when he had no probable cause to do so.