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Jeff Zito

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after he was convicted of planting drugs inside vehicles during traffic stops.

 

The sentence, handed down Thursday by Judge James Goodman, comes two years after Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Wester was arrested on a whopping 67 charges. Among the people who took the stand during the sentencing was Teresa Odom, one of Wester’s victims. “You’ve robbed me of my credibility, being a mother and a grandmother,” she said. “For the last three years, I’ve probably missed a year and a half of my grandbaby’s life because of this.”

 

Prosecutor Tom Williams told the court the number of people victimized by Wester extended far beyond those mentioned in his charging documents. “The defendant made choices to violate that trust and commit crimes against the very citizens he had sworn to protect,” Williams said. “That’s what he was convicted for, violating that trust to commit crimes against them, to victimize them.”