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Jury Begins Deliberating In Drug-Planting Officer Trial

Rep. Corrine Brown spent nearly 25 years in the U.S. House after serving in the Florida Legislature.
The jury is in deliberation after hearing closing arguments in the Zachary Wester trial.

The jury is in deliberation after hearing closing arguments in the Zachary Wester trial.

The former Jackson County deputy is accused of planting drugs on motorists during traffic stops. Assistant State Attorney Tom Williams says the drugs found in Wester’s patrol car the day he was suspended, were the ones he used to plant on victims.

Wester claims he confiscated those drugs during a call earlier that day. Wester’s defense attorney Ryan Davis says Wester did nothing wrong.

"Mr. Wester sat there on that stand and told you that he was at Arthur Park where these items were discovered by him and seized by him," said Davis. "The state is suggesting he was never sent there because they can’t locate a cat note or a dispatch record. But think about the other records the state has not been able to produce."

Williams says investigators checked records and found no such call.

"The logical reason is that it was his secret supply of drugs and paraphernalia that he had in the back of his patrol car that he could readily access during stops if he didn’t legitimately find anything," said Williams. "That he could go back there, get what he needed, finish his search, and plant it, and then lie about it, make a false statement in those reports and use that to arrest these people for comes they did not commit."

Wester is facing 67 charges ranging from racketeering, official misconduct, perjury, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and false imprisonment.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.