I collect materials from destroyed ships in high res sites and (so far) I haven't encountered any legal problems and nobody (NPCs in solo and private group) has bothered me.
However it seems that there might be a problem when I will collect anything that says 'illegal salvage' below in the description.
Is there a way that we can do cargo laundering in Elite?
edit: it's not narcotics or weapons, just metals and items, vanadium etc.
/off topic Ethical note: I think that the pirated/stolen cargo that pops up in the scanner when a 'WANTED' ship gets destroyed is a pity to be left there to disintegrate in the vacuum of space.
At least there should be some grace time to hand over the salvaged/acquired cargo to the nearest station so that it will be returned to its lawful owner.
The game could (and should) encourage such action by offering some form of compensation/reward for recovering and returning stolen goods, especially when it costs almost nothing (no server load, just a little programming effort) to Frontier.