A study by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts shows Nevadans are more than three times as likely as residents in other states to be wiretapped.
According to the report published by the PEW Research Center, Nevada leads the nation with 38.2 wiretaps for every 500,000 residents. The next highest state was Colorado with 12.4 taps per 500,000 and only two other states — California and New York — were above 10.
Researchers said nearly 90 percent of wiretap requests are related to criminal drug investigations. Because of that, the study says 97 percent of the 3,576 authorized taps targeted portable devices such as cellphones.
Those taps led to the arrest of some 3,744 people in 2013. The statistics are about the same as they were in 2012 but the total, it said, is double the number of taps a decade ago.
In Nevada, 187 authorizations were sought by Clark County officials in Las Vegas. Federal prosecutors obtained permission for 26 more taps. Researchers said they were unable to determine why so many taps were sought in Nevada because law enforcement officials in the state didn’t respond to the questions.
They conceded that the Nevada numbers may be skewed because the state’s population, the basis for the calculation, is small at less than 2.8 million but the state annually attracts more than 35 million tourists.
The states with the smallest number of taps were Michigan and Washington state with just a tenth of one tap per 500,000 residents.
The full report is available at www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/statistics.