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CRIME A Florida cop planted meth on random drivers, police say.
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  1. #1
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    A Florida cop planted meth on random drivers, police say.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/...fcL&OCID=HPDHP


    Meagan Flynn

    The meth seemed to appear out of thin air.



    Benjamin Bowling couldn’t figure it out. He had been clean ever since his release from prison on a DUI conviction, but now a Jackson County, Fla., sheriff’s deputy was accusing him of possessing a minuscule amount of methamphetamine.

    It was October 2017 and Bowling was on his way to the store to pick up diapers with his friend Shelly Smith when they saw the flashing lights swirl in the rearview mirror. He had been out of prison for less than a year, doing everything he could to get his life back on track. He passed all his drug tests. He had recently been awarded custody of his daughter. But deputy Zachary Wester was escalating a traffic stop for swerving over a white line into a search for illicit drugs.
    Bowling and Smith, confident they had nothing to hide, told Wester to go ahead and search the car after he claimed to smell marijuana, assuring him he wouldn’t find any.

    He emerged with meth.

    Now, nearly two years after Bowling lost custody of the daughter he had just gotten back, after he was convicted of felony meth possession, he knows exactly how it got there. Wester, state investigators now say, planted it himself — and Bowling was far from the only victim.

    Wester, who was fired last September, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 52 counts of racketeering, false imprisonment, official misconduct, fabricating evidence and possession of controlled substances, among other charges. He’s accused of indiscriminately targeting innocent drivers and hauling them off to jail after planting meth or marijuana in their vehicles while feigning a “search."
    “There is no question that Wester’s crimes were deliberate and that his actions put innocent people in jail,” Chris Williams, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s assistant special agent in charge, said in a news release.

    Bowling, who has since been cleared, is just one of 11 known victims named in the affidavit, although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Wednesday that there may be more victims who have not yet been identified, and the case remains under investigation. At least 119 cases involving Wester have been dropped, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. In addition to the dropped charges, Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson ordered at least eight inmates released from correctional facilities last fall, as 263 cases remained under review.

    Investigators said at a news conference Wednesday that there did not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the drivers Wester, 26, singled out for false arrests on drug possession. Some were parents with a diaper bag in the back seat. Others were young men and women, some crying as they insisted they had never touched drugs, let alone meth, in their lives.

    Asked by reporters why Wester would do this, State Attorney William “Bill” Eddins of Florida’s 1st Judicial Circuit said that was a good question. Investigators were still trying to figure it out themselves, he said.
    “You’re never certain of what lies in the heart of man,” he said.

    Eddins said he does not plan to offer a plea bargain, and that Wester faces up to 30 years in prison. Wester’s defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Wester, who joined the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, fell under suspicion last year after a prosecutor noticed inconsistencies in what Wester wrote in his reports and what was captured on his body camera — if he turned it on. The problem was he seemed to leave the device off most of the time, conveniently only recording after drugs were already “found” in a vehicle. In most cases, as in Bowling’s, he typically pulled someone over for a minor traffic infraction before asking if he smelled marijuana.

    Yet, even after reporting on affidavits that he smelled or even thought he saw marijuana, he typically emerged finding meth. According to the affidavit, meth, marijuana and 42 pieces of drug paraphernalia were found in Wester’s trunk.

    One case, that of Teresa Odom, was illuminating — appearing to capture Wester holding an unknown object in his left hand shortly before “discovering” meth in her truck, in the rare case his body camera was left on.
    “Hi, how are you?” Wester asked her in a friendly voice as he rolled up to her window, according to footage released to the news media. “The reason for is, um, your brake lights: They work one minute, and then the next minute they don’t work.”

    He took her license, left momentarily, and returned to ask if he could search her vehicle. She said it was no problem with a shrug, as long as she could take her phone with her. “Hang tight, Ms. Odom,” He grabbed a pair of gloves from his cruiser — then appears to be holding a tiny plastic baggie inside his left hand, according to the video and affidavit.

    The affidavit describes it like a magician’s sleight of hand: “Without putting on the glove, Deputy Wester’s left hand dropped out of view, down toward the front of the driver’s seat, and after a brief pause, reappeared empty.”

    Shortly thereafter, Wester pulls a tiny plastic bag out of Odom’s purse: “Oh, Ms. Odom, how about this?” Wester asked, confronting Odom with the drugs.

    “That is not mine,” she said. “No, sir. No, sir. What is it?” As another deputy who arrived for backup teased her that she was about to go to jail, she responded tersely: “It damn sure ain’t mine.”

    It wasn’t. The Democrat reported that Odom wept at the news conference Wednesday announcing, saying she felt “overwhelmed."
    In a few cases, some drivers were already suspected of other crimes, such as driving with a suspended license or having an outstanding warrant, or even admitting to having marijuana in the car — and yet Wester still planted meth on them, according to the affidavit.

    But mostly the drivers were guilty of nothing. Erika Helms — whose brother, Lance Sellers, has sued the sheriff’s department alleging false arrest — told the Democrat that Wester “ruined lives.” Sellers, she said, had to spend a year in residential rehab after his arrest for possession of meth. The charges were later dropped. In addition to Sellers, more than a dozen people have filed notices of intent to sue, the Democrat reported.

    “People are losing their lives, their freedom, their children, their marriages — all because of this one man,” Helms told the Democrat. “It’s not just innocent men. It’s innocent children. It goes a lot deeper than everyone realizes.”

    It’s unclear if Bowling regained custody of his daughter since his arrest, or whether other parents faced the same fate.

    At least one innocent mother feared she would, according to the affidavit.
    Kimberly Hazelwood and her husband, Jeremy, were pulled over in June 2018 with their small children in the back seat, as Wester alleged that the Hazelwoods’ car insurance had lapsed. Wester zeroed in on a bottle of Excedrin he saw in her possession. He told the couple that he was calling in the K-9 unit to search the vehicle.

    Soon enough, Wester claimed the Excedrin pill bottle contained methamphetamine, pulling Jeremy aside to tell him that he was going to arrest his wife for possession. “Jeremy appeared shocked and said Kimberly had never done drugs a day in her life,” the affidavit says.

    Wester told the distraught father that he could tell Kimberly used meth “by the way her face was sunk and her teeth . . . Jeremy stated his wife has always been like that."

    On the way to jail, Kimberly cried in the back of Wester’s cruiser, asking whether she was going to lose custody of her children.

    It’s unclear whether she did. According to the affidavit, months later, Wester pulled over Jeremy again, asking where Kimberly was this time. “This upset Jeremy,” the affidavit says, “and he told Deputy Wester that it was none of his business."

    Wester let him go.
    Be Safe

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  2. #2
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    Video of one of his crimes.




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MDnzcUrNBQ
    Be Safe

    To kill the vampires you must lead them into the light.

    They will come for you next !

  3. #3
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    Well I'll be. So it's not just the idle complaints of addicts after all. How many actually innocent people are getting gang-raped every night in this country?

  4. #4
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    That sorry excuse for a LEO ought to be publicly executed.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  5. #5
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    The really sad part is that innocent people had their lives ruined by this Govt. enforcer. Never will they get that time back. Me thinks the police need to vet their employees better and that it is well past time to hold the individual and Dept. responsible for actions such as this. We are supposed to trust these guys. The punishment for crimes like this should be very harsh.
    Be Safe

    To kill the vampires you must lead them into the light.

    They will come for you next !

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    That sorry excuse for a LEO ought to be publicly executed.
    Along with his parents for bringing him into the world. His co-workers should be looked at with a microscope. While not responsible for his actions, I doubt they were completely clueless.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  7. #7
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    Police always do "narcotics drop". I listen to Broadcastify all the time. You would be surprised what cops do these days.

  8. #8
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    You can't give back what was taken but monetary compensations should be so steep that police budgets
    squeak as a constant reminder to those who didn't monitor their employees.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit View Post
    You can't give back what was taken but monetary compensations should be so steep that police budgets
    squeak as a constant reminder to those who didn't monitor their employees.
    Police budgets? Oh no, this seems much more like a "cop should be signing over his pension checks" sort of situation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacknarwhal View Post
    Police budgets? Oh no, this seems much more like a "cop should be signing over his pension checks" sort of situation.
    AMEN!!!!!! He should lose EVERYTHING he owns, and go to prison forever. Let the victims split his finances, as well as what the PD owes for not properly handling their own. The penalty should be so strict that dirty LEO's are scared to do something like this ever again.

  11. #11
    I would be checking his bank accounts to see if he had some sort of deal to get more people into the prison system.
    float like a butterfly...

  12. #12
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    Hm, must be just one bad apple.


    And none of his "brothers" knew what he was doing.
    Last edited by hiwall; 07-11-2019 at 04:23 PM.

  13. #13
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    Irreparable harm to peoples lives. For anyone who does not understand that, this cop has done damage/harm thats almost if not imposable to fix.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeping Cobra View Post
    Police always do "narcotics drop". I listen to Broadcastify all the time. You would be surprised what cops do these days.
    Sleeping Cobra, especially in Yakima.

    The corruption runs deep and on all levels of .gov there and the cartels are now ensconced there. V

  15. #15
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    prison gonna like him

  16. #16
    He'll get a minimum sentence partially suspended, protective custody in jail, and early release.

  17. Just curious... you don't have to allow a cop at a routine traffic stop search your car, do you? I honestly don't know the law on this one.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jubilee on Earth View Post
    Just curious... you don't have to allow a cop at a routine traffic stop search your car, do you? I honestly don't know the law on this one.
    He can make you sit there while he gets a search warrant. Or he can make you sit there while he says he is getting a search warrant.

  19. #19
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    If you know there is nothing illegal in the car most people would allow the search to speed up the stop and get on your way.
    Be Safe

    To kill the vampires you must lead them into the light.

    They will come for you next !

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacknarwhal View Post
    Police budgets? Oh no, this seems much more like a "cop should be signing over his pension checks" sort of situation.
    I was thinking confiscating his corneas and one or both kidneys, but that would be a good start.
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jubilee on Earth View Post
    Just curious... you don't have to allow a cop at a routine traffic stop search your car, do you? I honestly don't know the law on this one.
    As other posters have mentioned, they'll bring a dog. There was a utube that circulated by a guy that showed the dog scratching every piece of sheet metal on the car as it was led around the car. He had hidden cameras that picked up the officer telling another "the 'hit' (by dog) was 'light' and he knows his rights"

    I think I even remember it linked here at TB. Happy Independence Day was title IIRC.

    Nobody hates druggies or drunks more than me, but the cops MUST follow the rules or we don't have a society worth living in...

    ETA: I've never seen any statistics of what percentage of roadside stops result in a positive dog "hit". I predict near 100% in some areas. The cops will say "the drugs were here earlier" if none found. jmo


    Fair Use
    https://southjerseylawfirm.com/dui-c...eo-goes-viral/
    This site has the video.
    Here's how the real world works. 6min 27 secs.
    My memory was slightly off but you'll get the idea...
    Last edited by Luddite; 07-11-2019 at 06:49 PM.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiwall View Post
    He can make you sit there while he gets a search warrant. Or he can make you sit there while he says he is getting a search warrant.
    The "Cop" needs to be publicly executed.

    The entire premise that they can "Get a warrant" is bull shit and if any cop tells you this he is FOS. During most traffic stops, if the officer discovers enough probable cause to apply for a search warrant, he can search the car without one. With that said, any threat that they "Will get a warrant" should be met with "No, you cant search my car, go for your warrant" and "I want a lawyer". Don't entertain questions about "Why wont you let me search your car", the wrong answer such as "I have some weed in the car" gives them probable cause to search.


    Just say no, then "Am I free to leave, if not I want an attorney".

  23. #23
    This one they caught but I suspect there is a whole lot of this going on all across the country. Cops are never to be trusted.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury3 View Post
    Cops are never to be trusted.
    IMO, that's not fair. Some can be trusted. ALL cops can't be trusted to arrest their crooked coworkers, might be closer to a true statement.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by hiwall View Post
    He can make you sit there while he gets a search warrant. Or he can make you sit there while he says he is getting a search warrant.
    Or they just get the dog who they can prompt to hit on your car and hence probably cause. No warrants needed. Bastards.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
    IMO, that's not fair. Some can be trusted. ALL cops can't be trusted to arrest their crooked coworkers, might be closer to a true statement.
    I agree but the problem is we cannot know which one can or can't be trusted. Without knowing none can be trusted.

  27. #27
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    that's not fair

    But planting drugs on innocent people is.

    Thanks for outing yourself....
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury3 View Post
    I agree but the problem is we cannot know which one can or can't be trusted. Without knowing none can be trusted.
    There are multiple groups to whom that is a useful rule, given the observable odds these days. Indians (call center not casino) in business, Hispanics in construction, socialist/feminists/blacks in anything, nonvirgin women in marriage.

    So, aside from getting frameup convictions set aside, what if anything is being done towards making whole all the victims of this JBT?
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    Irreparable harm to peoples lives. For anyone who does not understand that, this cop has done damage/harm thats almost if not imposable to fix.



    So now the Courts and prosecutors (who have a hard time with this) have to go about releasing everyone thats still in jail and or had been arrested and charged with having drugs by this same cop and go about Expunging the records of all these people. Its better to let them all go than have even one innocent person wrongly sitting in prison and at this point they cannot tell one way or the other.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    that's not fair

    But planting drugs on innocent people is.

    Thanks for outing yourself....
    Bullshit. I stand by the context of my remark. You were prepared to execute him. I was prepared to execute his parents too. Maybe you just read YOUR posts....
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit View Post
    You can't give back what was taken but monetary compensations should be so steep that police budgets
    squeak as a constant reminder to those who didn't monitor their employees.
    You do realize the taxpayers would be paying those fines?
    The individual needs to be sued, not the departments.

  32. #32
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    Pride
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyper View Post
    You do realize the taxpayers would be paying those fines?
    The individual needs to be sued, not the departments.


    They need to fix it so the "Blue Line of Silence" will not be tolerated and you best rat out the bad cop.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury3 View Post
    I agree but the problem is we cannot know which one can or can't be trusted. Without knowing none can be trusted.
    Not denying the dilemma. When one like this is caught, the punishment needs to be so severe and draconian that it serves as a lesson to others. The video from the link I added shows just how powerless we are on the side of the road. If everybody votes to go full anarchy, I'm prepared to live in that environment until I'm dead. Until then, we need some glimmer of hope this isn't the rule rather than the exception.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    That sorry excuse for a LEO ought to be publicly executed.
    Yep
    "Be Prepared" - Boy Scouts Motto
    "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." - Jesus Christ, Mk 13:37
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    They need to fix it so the "Blue Line of Silence" will not be tolerated and you best rat out the bad cop.
    Agreed. The pre-SJW code of honor at West Point comes to mind, where failure to report a violation is comparable to committing the violation in its consequences.
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

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