Riverside County Leads Country in Wiretapping

What do they talk about out in the Inland Empire?

It is not a close contest either, according to data from the Office of the Attorney General, Riverside County applies for and is granted over half of the state’s wiretap orders.

The data from 2014 shows Riverside County as having applied for 624 wiretaps and being granted 602 of them. For context, Los Angeles County applied for and got 129 wiretaps. The next highest county had 30 (San Bernardino).

Total requested days totaled 24,403 for Riverside, L.A. County totaled less than 5,000 total days of tapping.

Jennifer Lynch, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said “We are seeing a lack of transparency, accountability and oversight when it comes to how wiretaps are ordered and carried out."

There are also cases of the wiretaps being found to be illegal and inadmissible in court. For more than a year, federal agents watched a jewelry store suspected of money laundering, only to have the wiretap deemed illegal, leading to suspects walking free and looking for answers as to the whereabouts of the $800,000 the agents had seized.

Riverside County’s wiretap total accounts for almost one-fifth of the total wiretaps issues nationally. The second highest county outside of California is still dwarfed by Riverside County’s totals, Clark County in Nevada only applied for 175, barely more than 25% of Riverside’s haul.

Of the six categories of targeted offenses that wiretaps can fall under, over 600 specified narcotics. So that might give a little insight into the practice.

More on the wiretaps can be found here.

The report from the Attorney General can be found here, see pages 3 and 4.


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