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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 14, 2002

In this civil forfeiture action arising out of claimant’s arrest and prosecution for possession of a controlled substance, we are called upon to determine the standard which governs warrantless searches of vehicles impounded for possible forfeiture. Although there are decisions, primarily from the federal courts, granting an unfettered right to search under such circumstances, we reject that rule and hold that searches of vehicles impounded in contemplation of forfeiture are to be judged by the rules governing inventory searches. See State v. Mangold, 82 N.J. 575 (1980). In this case, we conclude that a search of the trunk of claimant’s vehicle did not meet the inventory search requirements and that, as a result, $3910 found secreted therein must be suppressed.*fn1

 
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