Home Celebrity Celebrity designer accused of smuggling crocodile handbags – The Durango Herald

Celebrity designer accused of smuggling crocodile handbags – The Durango Herald


WASHINGTON — A leading fashion designer whose accessories are used by celebrities and characters on the “Sex and the City” TV series has been arrested in her hometown of Cali, Colombia, and faces extradition to the United States on charges of smuggling alligator handbags, Colombia Prosecutors said Friday.

Nancy Gonzalez faces charges in the Southern District of Florida that could result in up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

While the sale of some alligator skins is legal, it requires a certificate, which can be expensive and difficult to obtain.

U.S. and Colombian investigators say Gonzalez paid passengers to smuggle hundreds of handbags in their personal luggage on flights to the U.S., and instructed them to say the items were delivered if they were asked any questions. gifts for relatives. customs agent.

The bags can sell for up to $10,000 in designer stores in the US and Europe.

In 2019, two investigators working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told The Associated Press that as many as 12 people each boarded a one-way flight to the U.S. with four handbags, with round-trip tickets paid by Gonzalez. pay. Investigators asked their identities to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize their investigation.

Gonzalez started making belts after a trip to New York in the late 1990s, then turned to handbags, when a designer store executive encouraged her to build a collection. Salma Hayek, Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham reportedly bought her elaborate handbags, but it is unclear if any of those handbags were allegedly brought in illegally. Her work was also included in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2008.

In a 2019 interview, Gonzalez told miami herald Whenever she sees a photo or video of a celebrity using one of her handbags, she feels “a huge responsibility and commitment” to improve her product.

Emails sent to Gonzalez’s website seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Joshua Goodman reported from Cleveland.

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