As a response to the increased violence of organized crime, Mexico passed its first forfeiture law in 2008. At the time, the law was seen as an agile tool for federal and state governments to reach the financial assets of drug cartels and organized crime within the limits of existing constitutional protections. In practice, however, the forfeiture procedure was slow and Mexican authorities were often unsuccessful in their efforts to secure the assets and proceeds of organized crime.
Following a political campaign focused on combating political impunity, corruption and organized crime, in March of 2019, the Morena Administration passed Constitutional amendments to articles 22 and 73, reducing certain constitutional restrictions. Congress then subsequently passed the National Asset Forfeiture Law (Ley de Extincion de Dominio) in August. This month, the Federal Attorney General created a Special Forfeiture Unit within the Fiscalia General de la Republica (Mexican equivalent of the Department of Justice) to investigate forfeitable assets and exercise the Federal Government’s rights under the law. The law was influenced by the laws and practices of the U.S., Guatemala, Colombia and Italy.