TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Prosecutors have leveled a host of new charges against the former Florida deputy accused of planting drugs on unwary drivers during bogus traffic stops recorded by his own body camera.

Zachary Wester, a former Jackson County, Florida, deputy whose career in law enforcement came crashing down in 2018 after the allegations came to light, was indicted last year on a total of 52 counts, including charges of racketeering, official misconduct, perjury, fabricating evidence, false imprisonment and possession of drugs. The charges stemmed from Wester’s arrests of 11 different people.

Last month, prosecutors filed an amended information charging Wester with two dozen additional counts involving five more of his alleged victims. The charges stemmed from traffic stops in 2017 and 2018 in which drivers or passengers were arrested on drug charges including possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. 

Former Jackson County, Florida, Deputy Zachary Wester's reflection seen on his body camera footage.

During one of the arrests cited in the new indictment, Wester sang, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” as he searched a Chevrolet Tahoe he pulled over in the Lowe’s parking lot in Marianna, Florida.

The entire 40-minute traffic stop, which culminated in the arrest of the driver, happened while Wester’s body camera was running.

“Man, I am in the Christmas spirit,” he said as he rifled through the SUV. “I mean, I like to hum a tune in case something ever goes to the jury, you know, so they’re not just sitting somewhere … chilling.”



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