Senators sue city of Albuquerque for seizing vehicles

cars

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Two New Mexico state senators filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday morning to end its vehicle forfeiture program, calling it illegal.

The program has taken away tens of thousands of vehicles from DWI suspects. Although the New Mexico legislature passed legislation earlier this year banning the practice Senators Daniel Ivey-Soto and Lisa Torraco say Albuquerque continues to break the law.

That law that went into effect in July, states that a person must be convicted before their property can be seized. Soto and Torraco claim the city of Albuquerque continues to operate the program and uses the money it creates to pay the salaries of police and city prosecutors doing the forfeiting.

The attorneys claim the city seized more than 1,200 vehicles in 2014 and made more than $1 million last year seizing and selling vehicles. What’s unclear is if the city has seized any vehicles since July when that revised law went into effect.

KRQE News 13 did reach out to the city Wednesday to get their response they say that their legal team is working on one and will issue a statement Wednesday.

There was a class action lawsuit filed against the city because of the program, that lawsuit is still pending.

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