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Riverside, California Wiretap by DEA May Be Illegal
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Summary: Wiretaps are becoming the new norm in Riverside County, California, the highest heroin and methamphetamine drug trafficking place in the nation.

The Los Angeles suburb of Riverside is experiencing a massive wiretapping operation. Federal drug agents are intercepting tens of thousands of text messages and phone calls in the area in an effort to catch drug traffickers.


Justice Department lawyers are not as excited about the secret operation, fearing that it is illegal. The surveillance has been authorized by mostly just one state court judge in Riverside County. This same judge authorized nearly five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge gave the DEA the ability to watch over 2 million conversations of 44,000 people.

Los Angeles’ eastern suburbs have turned into the nation’s busiest shipping corridor for the drugs heroin and methamphetamine, according to the DEA. The wiretaps in Riverside are being used to make arrests and stop shipments of drugs and cash in places as far away as New York and Virginia. However, Justice Department lawyers are unwilling to use evidence from the wiretaps because they know they are exposed to legal challenges.

Wiretaps are one of the most controversial methods for gathering important information, but ultimately they have proved useful. The process is extremely intrusive, so federal laws place strict limits on how and when they can be used, which is supposed to be when there are no other options left. Riverside County is experiencing this demand from drug officials because the rate of drug trafficking has risen so high.

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