The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced on July 11 that a former Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been charged with a raft of felony counts for planting drugs in the vehicles of drivers he pulled over. The 26-year-old man has been fired by the JCSO and is being detained without bond at the Wakulla County Jail. In addition to multiple felony counts of drug possession, fabricating evidence, racketeering, false imprisonment and official misconduct, the man faces misdemeanor charges including perjury and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to a FDLE statement, the investigation into the man’s activities began in August 2018 and involved scrutinizing approximately 1,300 hours of video footage. Investigators believe that the man violated the JCSO’s policy requiring body cameras to conceal his alleged illegal activities. The special agent in charge told reporters that he was convinced the man’s actions were intentional and resulted in innocent people being sent to jail.
Media reports contain details of an encounter the man had with a motorist in October 2017. The driver, who was pulled over for a minor traffic violation, gave the man permission to search his vehicle because he had nothing to hide. He was taken into custody on fabricated drug possession charges when the officer produced a bag of methamphetamine that was allegedly found in the car.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may check their records carefully when media outlets carry stories like this one. If a discredited officer was involved in an arrest, a lawyer could seek to have an old case reopened. This is because minor drug possession cases are usually built on the testimony of the arresting officer.