Colombian authorities have reported the extradition of a prominent celebrity fashion designer to the United States. This action comes in response to accusations of smuggling purses made from protected animal skins.
Nancy Gonzalez, a 78-year-old Colombian designer, found herself under arrest in Cali in July 2022. She was charged with participating in the illegal importation and sale of over 200 products crafted from caiman and python skins.
These illicit items were purportedly brought into the United States through individuals who were allegedly compensated for transporting the bags on commercial flights from Colombia to New York. These smugglers were also allegedly instructed to provide false information about the origin of the merchandise when questioned.
According to a video statement from police official Jose Luis Ramirez, some of the sourced skins were from species that held protected status or were on the brink of extinction.
Nancy Gonzalez is a renowned figure in the world of fashion, with her purses, clutches, and wallets commanding high prices in the market. These luxurious items have graced runways, television shows, and upscale stores around the globe.
Her website states that her exquisite bags are painstakingly handcrafted by a team of skilled artisans in her hometown of Cali. Furthermore, the site highlights that her bags are available at over 300 esteemed luxury retailers, including renowned establishments such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrod’s, and Tsum.
Adding to her prestige, Gonzalez’s designs were even featured in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Notably, her client list includes A-list names like Salma Hayek, Britney Spears, and Victoria Beckham.
Joining Gonzalez on her extradition journey is her business partner, Diego Mauricio Rodriguez. The exact date of their transfer to the United States remains undisclosed; however, they are wanted by authorities in the Southern District of Florida.
As a consequence of her alleged involvement, Gonzalez now faces the possibility of a 25-year prison sentence.