Colombian luxury handbag designer extradited to US over illegal animal leathers

BARRIO (Euro News) – She’s designed luxury purses for the likes of Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham. Now Nancy Gonzalez faces a 25-year prison sentence for using allegedly illegal animal skins.

Colombian authorities have announced that a prominent celebrity fashion designer has been extradited to the United States, following allegations of smuggling protected animal skin purses. 

Nancy Gonzalez, the 78-year-old Colombian designer was 

arrested in July 2022 in Cali, charged with involvement in the unlawful importation and sale of over 200 products crafted from caiman and python skins. 

These items were reportedly brought into the United States through individuals who were allegedly compensated to transport the bags on commercial flights from Colombia to New York.

These smugglers were also allegedly instructed to provide false information about the origins of the merchandise if questioned.

According to a video statement by 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’s purses, clutches, and wallets, which are valued in the thousands of US dollars, have graced runways, television shows, and upscale stores across the world.

Her website details that her luxurious bags are meticulously handcrafted by a team of skilled artisans in her hometown of Cali. The site also boasts of her bags being available at more than 300 esteemed luxury retailers, including iconic names like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrod’s, and Tsum.

Further underscoring her acclaim, Gonzalez’s designs were showcased in an exhibition hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Notably, her client list includes renowned names such as Salma Hayek, Britney Spears, and Victoria Beckham.

Accompanying Gonzalez on her extradition journey is her business partner Diego Mauricio Rodriguez. The exact date of their transfer to the United States has not been specified; however, they are sought after by authorities in the Southern District of Florida.

Gonzalez now faces the potential of a 25-year prison sentence for her alleged involvement. 

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