Celebrity Handbag Designer Behind Bars for 18 Months in Miami for Crocodile and Python Bag Smuggling Conspiracy

Miami, FL: A famous fashion designer was sent behind bars for 18 months after pleading guilty in federal court in Miami to smuggling crocodile handbags from her home country of Colombia.

The designer, Nancy Gonzalez, was sentenced on Monday. She is a leading handbag designer whose items were worn by Britney Spears and the cast of the TV show “Sex and the City”

Nancy Gonzalez was arrested in Cali, Colombia, in 2022 and later extradited to the U.S. She was charged with running a large, multiyear scheme to transport her handbags on commercial flights to high-end showrooms and fashion events in New York, which was against U.S. wildlife laws.

González’s lawyers asked for leniency for the famous designer, saying that she went from being a divorced mother of two kids who sew belts on her home sewing machine in Cali for friends to becoming a fashion star who beat out Dior, Prada, and Gucci.

“From the bottom of my heart, I apologize to the United States of America. I never intended to offend a country to which I owe immense gratitude…Under pressure, I made poor decisions.”

Nancy Gonzalez said in court room while holding in her tears.

Lawyers for the 71-year-old designer said she had already paid a high price for her crimes. After her arrest, the Colombian company she built went bankrupt and stopped doing business. It had 300 workers, most of whom were women.

They also said that only 1% of the things she brought into the U.S. were illegal because they were samples for New York Fashion Week and other events as per The New York Times.

Gonzalez told the judge before her sentence that she truly regretted not following U.S. laws to the letter and that all she wants to do now is hug her 103-year-old mother one more time.

The hides were all from caiman and pythons that were raised as pets. Still, there were times when she didn’t get the right import permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is needed by an international treaty that controls the trade in threatened or endangered wildlife species that many countries have signed.

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