New Mexico

Department of Public Safety

Keeping New Mexico Safer Through Safe Roads and Safer Communities

Welcome to New Mexico Department of Public Safety Forensic Laboratory Bureau. We remain confident that the information contained herein will serve as a useful resource for the criminal justice community throughout the state of New Mexico and will also serve as an educational tool for the public, by assisting in furthering the understanding of the role the Forensic Laboratory Bureau serves in criminal investigations.

Our Mission

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratory Bureau endeavors to be the preferred and most trusted forensic science provider for all criminal justice agencies and citizens within New Mexico.

Overview

The NMDPS Forensic Laboratory Bureau has laboratories located in Santa Fe at the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Complex, the Las Cruces High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HITDA) Complex, and Hobbs, New Mexico.

Law enforcement agencies may submit evidence to any corresponding laboratory based upon regional location and/or the method of forensic analysis requested for any of the forensic disciplines currently offered.

Additional Services & Training

The NMDPS Forensic Laboratory Bureau frequently provides expert testimony in State, Federal and Tribal Courts. Training to various law enforcement agencies and attorneys on a variety of topics related to laboratory operations and forensic analyses are available. To request training, contact the Forensic Laboratory Training Coordinator.

Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory

PO Box 1628 Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628 Tel. (505) 827-9136 Fax (505) 827-3318

History

Founded in 1972, as an original part of the New Mexico State Police, the Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory began serving the state of New Mexico with the establishment of the first Latent Prints and Chemistry Units dedicated to serving the state of New Mexico, and by the late 1970’s the Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory expanded forensic disciplines to include Trace Evidence, Firearms, Questioned Documents, and Serology.

In 1987, the Forensic Laboratory was separated from the New Mexico State Police and became a part of the Technical and Emergency Support Division of the newly created Department of Public Safety for the state of New Mexico, and continues to serve the people of New Mexico today.

Present Day

The Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory serves as the headquarters for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratory Bureau, and employs the forensic disciplines of Controlled Substance Analysis, DNA / Serology, Latent Print analysis and comparison, and Firearms analysis. In addition, the Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory also provides sub-discipline forensic analysis in Footwear & Tire Track Impressions for the entire state of New Mexico, as well as Toolmark Comparisons and Serial Number Restorations. The Santa Fe Laboratory also features state-of-the-art instrumentation and ample independent workstations.

The NMDPS Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). Accreditation is a voluntary program in which the laboratory demonstrates adherence to established quality standards.

Services Provided at the Santa Fe Forensic Laboratory

  • Administration / Attorney Liaison
  • Evidencing
  • DNA / Serology
  • Chemistry Unit
  • Latent Prints
  • Footwear & Tire Track Impressions
  • Firearms and Toolmark Analysis
  • Serial Number Restoration
  • IBIS / NIBIN

Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory

PO Box 2336 Las Cruces, NM 88047-2336 Tel. (575) 541-7580 Fax (575) 541-7594

History

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory began operation in a small facility located on the campus of New Mexico State University (NMSU) in November of 1989. In the summer of 1998, the Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory was relocated from the NMSU campus and established within the Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) complex in Las Cruces, NM.

Present Day

The Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory continues to provide critical forensic services in Controlled Substance analysis for the state of New Mexico. In addition, the Laboratory has expanded services to provide quantitative analysis of methamphetamine for the entire State of New Mexico. The Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory features state-of-the-art instrumentation and large examination areas.

The NMDPS Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). Accreditation is a voluntary program in which the laboratory demonstrates adherence to established quality standards.

Services provided at the Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory

  • Evidencing
  • Chemistry Analysis
  • Methamphetamine Purity Analysis

Hobbs Forensic Laboratory

PO Box 2567 Hobbs, NM 88241-2567 Tel. (575) 391-1840 Fax (575) 391-1899

History

The Hobbs Forensic Laboratory was established on February 16, 2009 in Hobbs, NM for the purpose of providing controlled substance analysis and more recently firearms/toolmark examinations to Southeastern regions of New Mexico.

Present Day

The Hobbs Forensic Laboratory currently provides essential controlled substance analysis to the Southeastern High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) regions of New Mexico. The Laboratory features state-of-the-art instrumentation and large examination areas.

In 2014, Firearms and Toolmark Identification, including serial number restoration and IBIS/NIBIN entry, was added to the capabilities of the Forensic Laboratory. The NMDPS Hobbs Forensic Laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). Accreditation is a voluntary program in which the laboratory demonstrates adherence to established quality standards.

Services provided at the Hobbs Forensics Laboratory

  • Evidencing
  • Chemistry Analysis
  • Firearms and Toolmark Analysis
  • Serial Number Restoration
  • IBIS / NIBIN

General Frequently Asked Questions

What Forensic Services are performed in the laboratory?

The New Mexico DPS Forensic Laboratory bureau has three different laboratory locations that offer a variety of services:

  • The headquarters laboratory is in Santa Fe and satellite laboratories are located in Las Cruces and Hobbs.
  • Controlled Substance Analysis Sections can be found at each of the three forensic laboratory site. However, the Las Cruces Forensic Laboratory is the only state laboratory that also conducts purity analysis for methamphetamine.
  • Latent print analysis and DNA/Serology testing are located only at the headquarters lab in Santa Fe and

Both the Santa Fe laboratory and the Hobbs Forensic laboratory offer Firearms analysis.

What services are not provided?
The New Mexico DPS Forensic Laboratory does not offer toxicological testing including blood alcohol testing.
How long does it take to complete a single case?
Because each case is unique and the laboratory has many cases at a given time, the time needed to complete each case will vary.
Does the laboratory offer tours?
Unfortunately, the forensic laboratories do not offer tours, due to the sensitive nature and necessary confidentiality of active criminal investigations, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau has an obligation to preserve and protect the integrity of all case evidence submitted.
Does the laboratory have an internship program?
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) Forensic Laboratories Bureau has periodically been afforded the opportunity to utilize internship opportunities through grant funding or statewide internship programs. Unfortunately, the laboratory does not have a pre-existing internship position. Nevertheless, the laboratory continuously explores opportunities to facilitate future endeavors.

Evidence Unit Frequently Asked Questions

When can I submit evidence to the laboratory?
The NMDPS Forensic Laboratories Bureau’s evidence sections remain open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am to 12pm, are closed for lunch, and reopen from 1pm to 5pm. Officers may submit evidence to the laboratories during the listed hours of operation.
How many cases can I submit at one time?
The forensic laboratories serve the entire state of New Mexico and maintain a consistent intake of evidence. Therefore, our laboratories request agencies limit quantities to 20 cases per submission. The laboratories also requests agencies schedule appointments for high volume submissions with our evidence sections prior to submissions, to allow adequate time for preparation and intake processing.
How should I package evidence that I need to submit?

It is imperative to maintain the integrity of all evidence submitted to the laboratory:

  • Firearms should NEVER be submitted to the laboratory loaded. In the event a problem exists with a firearm regarding the functionality or safety, please call the Firearms Section for assistance or guidance.
  • Clothing and items that have been saturated with blood or other bodily fluids should be thoroughly dried prior to packaging.
  • Paper packaging is ideal for the majority of submissions to the laboratory, to include Latent Print evidence and DNA evidence, and the use of plastic packaging should be limited to specific circumstances and appropriate drug evidence.
  • Ensure all items are properly sealed with evidence tape, and each seal should have, at a minimum, the initials of the person who sealed the evidence and the date.
What guidelines exist for submitting evidence to the Chemistry Unit?
The forensic laboratories do not accept syringes with attached needles as evidence. Attached needles pose a significant hazard to the analysts. However, you may place the contents of the syringe into a vial and submit the vial as evidence. Additionally, prior to submitting suspected drug evidence, such as marijuana, the evidence should be thoroughly dried and properly packaged, and in situations where large quantities exist, sub-samples should be taken and submitted for testing. For situational clarification and questions, please contact our Controlled Substance Analysis Units.
Do I need an acceptance code for testing requests in disciplines other than DNA?
No, you do not need an acceptance code for evidence submitted for analysis with any other disciplines, unless that evidence is also being examined for DNA. If the evidence requires DNA testing, please contact a DNA analyst for a DNA acceptance code or use the Request a DNA Acceptance Code link on the DNA Section page.