Florida prosecutors dropping charges linked to former deputy accused of planting drugs

MARIANNA, Fla. (AP) — Florida prosecutors are dropping charges in cases initiated by a former sheriff’s deputy who is under investigation for allegedly planting drugs on people during traffic stops.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Thursday that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation at the request of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Jackson County northwest of Tallahassee. The investigation remains open and no charges have been filed.

The newspaper stated FDLE records showed Deputy Zachary Wester was fired earlier this month for violating agency policy.

State Attorney Glenn Hess has sent letters to lawyers with clients in 15 cases involving Wester. On Tuesday, prosecutors asked a judge to vacate the sentence of one woman charged with drug possession.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that a judge has already vacated the sentences of at least eight people who were arrested by Wester, and the State Attorney’s Office said charges have been dropped against over 30 other people who were arrested between 2016 and 2018. One defendant was a juvenile.

Hess said his office is reviewing a total of 263 cases involving Wester.

The newspaper said it was unable to reach Wester or his attorney for comment.

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