In 2015, New Mexico passed a law banning civil asset forfeiture, a legal procedure where law enforcement may seize property or cash from individuals even if they have not been convicted of a crime. Now, three years later, reform efforts seem to have stalled. Law enforcement agencies across the state are failing to report property and cash which has been legally forfeited. It is also unclear what has happened to most of the forfeited cash.
According to New Mexico’s civil forfeiture reforms, law enforcement agencies are required to report all forfeitures to the Department of Public Safety. Once submitted, they are to be published on the department’s website by April 1 every year. Even though reporting by law enforcement agencies was widespread in 2015, few reports have been submitted to the department since then.