An unknown item can be seen in Wester’s left hand around the 4:53 minute mark. Tallahassee Democrat
MARIANNA — Prosecutors in the 14th Judicial Circuit announced Tuesday they have dropped charges in a grand total of 119 cases after finishing their review of arrests involving a former Jackson County deputy accused of planting drugs on motorists.
The charges involved everything from misdemeanor and criminal traffic offenses to felonies, including possession of methamphetamine and other controlled substances. All of the cases involved former Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired Sept. 10 and remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“We have completed the work we know about,” said State Attorney Glenn Hess. “If additional information is received, we will follow that up. I have not received the FDLE report so I can not say for sure that we are finished.”
On Tuesday alone, some 49 cases were dismissed after a short proceeding before Jackson County Judge Wayne Mercer in a near empty courtroom. The state began dismissing cases on Sept. 13 that either were initiated by Wester or heavily involved him.
Derek Blount, an assistant public defender, asked Mercer to set aside pleas and vacate sentences for the 40-some defendants, some of whom had more than one arrest involving Wester. After Mercer granted the motions in open court, Assistant State Attorney Laura Parish announced the state was dropping charges in all of the cases.