San Diego ranks high on the list of California jurisdictions where federal judges issued the most wiretaps last year, according to the recently released 2008 Wiretap Report by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Eighty-three intercepts were authorized by judges here, ranking the San Diego County jurisdiction third behind Los Angeles at 181 and San Bernardino with 84. When it came to the number of days of listening in, San Diego was in second place with 3134 days; L.A. had 5898, and San Bernardino, 2510. Breaking down the San Diego taps by case type, 77 were for narcotics investigations, 4 for larceny and theft, and 2 for homicide and assault. That suggests local politicos can rest easy, since no wiretaps were ordered for corruption, conspiracy, or racketeering cases.
Taxpayers may be interested to know that wiretaps don’t come cheap. The average cost per order in the San Diego jurisdiction was $37,713. In San Francisco, it was $158,698. As a result of the local taps, the report says, 168 people were arrested and 100 convicted.