A former sheriff’s deputy in Florida has been arrested after he allegedly planted drugs on dozens drivers during traffic stops. After a nearly year-long investigation, officials said 26-year-old Zachary Wester pulled drivers over for minor traffic infractions, planted drugs on them and took them into custody, CBS Miami reported.
The former Jackson County deputy wore a body camera and doctored the footage to conceal his activity, officials said. After looking at more than 1,300 minutes of video, investigators said they discovered evidence of Wester planting the drugs.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said Wester was arrested Wednesday in Crawfordville. He faces felony charges of racketeering, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance, official misconduct and false imprisonment.
The department said agents reviewed more than 1,300 minutes of footage and logged more than 1,400 hours working the case.
“There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,” said Chris Williams, a special agent in charge for the FDLE in Pensacola.
“I am proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our agents and analysts on this case to ensure justice is served,” he added.
Prosecutors were forced to drop charges in about 120 cases between 2016 and 2018, the Associated Press reported.