HARRISBURG - A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled yesterday that the state's wiretapping law applies to text messages, and that police need a warrant in order to intercept them.

A Superior Court panel ruled that police violated the law when they used a cellular phone taken from two men arrested on marijuana-trafficking charges and sent fake messages that drew in other suspects.

The case began when a state trooper stopped a speeding pickup truck in Clearfield County in March 2007. Police arrested the driver and passenger after a consent search turned up 35 pounds of marijuana, methamphetamines, a gun, and the phone.

Investigators used the phone to locate and arrest an Arizona man suspected of setting up the deal and a New York man suspected of planning to buy the marijuana. - AP