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Wiretaps up nationally, but seldom used in SD

While the use of wiretaps by federal and state authorities grew by 5 percent in 2013 according to a new report, the surveillance method is not favored in South Dakota and Northern Plains States.

According to the federal 2013 Wiretap Report, as of Dec. 31, 709 persons had been convicted as a result of authorized interceptions, up 56 percent from 2012.

However, in South Dakota, while state law allows for electronic surveillance, state courts authorized no wiretaps. The same was true in North Dakota and Iowa.

In other Northern Plains states that utilized wiretaps in 2013, Minnesota authorized only four, Nebraska eight and Wyoming five.

Montana state law does not authorize wiretaps, one of only six states that does not.

The 2013 Wiretap Report provides information on intercepted wire, oral or electronic communications.

A total of 3,576 wiretaps were reported in 2013. federal judges authorized 1,476 wiretaps, up 9 percent from 2012. State judges approved 2,100 wiretaps, up 3 percent from 2012.

Applications in California, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida accounted for 80 percent of all applications approved by state judges.

Drug offenses were the most prevalent type of criminal offenses investigated and the second-largest category of offenses investigated includes smuggling and money laundering offenses.

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