Bugging The Bull: Did Ariz. police go too far in Gravano wiretaps?

By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
March 25, 2001

Investigators continued taping hours of highly personal phone calls involving Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano and an Ecstasy ring despite wiretap laws that prohibit the recording of conversations unrelated to criminal cases, according to documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Court records show that police monitored 17,000 conversations involving Gravano, his family members and others. The court-approved wiretaps were conducted over two months as authorities investigated a nationwide syndicate trafficking in Ecstasy pills.

Wiretap summaries obtained by The Republic indicate that Gravano was not overheard blatantly doing drug transactions by phone, but took part in at least one related conversation and was implicated repeatedly by associates. The former Mafia hit man, who moved to Phoenix after testifying against Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, was indicted last year and identified by police as a leader of the ring.

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