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Fashion designer with well-known clients sentenced for smuggling crocodile bags

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Fashion designer Nancy Gonzalez (under the umbrella) and her lawyer Andrea Lopez outside the courtroom in Miami on Monday. Gonzelez was sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegally importing crocodile bags. Photo: Josh Goodman / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 22.04.2024 19:30:24

Policy: Nancy Gonzalez was arrested in Cali in her native Colombia in 2022 and later extradited to the United States.

US authorities believed that for several years she had controlled a network of couriers who carried her exclusive handbags on board regular scheduled flights, products that ended up in fashionable boutiques and at top-level fashion shows.

This type of business is a violation of US wildlife protection laws. Gonzales didn’t always have the right documents, even though skins from both caimans and pythons came from farms. In both 2016 and 2017, she received warnings about missing documentation in accordance with the international CITES rules.

Gonzalez could make arrangements with as many as 40 passengers on an airliner to carry four handbags each ahead of major fashion shows in the United States.

She tearfully apologized in court on Monday. She said she was deeply sorry and that her only wish was to give her 103-year-old mother a hug.

The defense attorney asked the court for leniency, describing Gonzalez as a divorced mother of two in Cali, an enterprising woman who had started sewing belts at home at her sewing machine. Eventually, she became a fashion icon competing with brands such as Dior, Prada and Gucci.

(© NTB)

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