Famous Fashion Designer Faces Smuggling Charges
Nancy González is a celebrity fashion designer whose products have been worn by characters in the TV show “Sex in the City”. Her name is associated with luxurious textures and lively colors. Now, her products are the reason she is being accused of smuggling and facing extradition to the United States. In an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, González and her colleagues are accused of smuggling their purses since the beginning of 2016.
González was arrested in her hometown of Cali, Colombia on Friday, July 8. Authorities are prosecuting her on smuggling charges for smuggling crocodile handbags into the US. She is suspected of smuggling at least 48 bags in 2019. The bags could be sold at $10,000 each in designer stores in the US and Europe. If convicted, González and her reported co-conspirators, Diego Rodriguez and John Aguilar, could face up to 20 years in prison and pay up to $500,000 in fines.
It is legal to import crocodile handbags to the US, but a person must have a certificate to do so. Certificates are difficult to get and cost lots of money. The purses she smuggled into the US were made of endangered caiman and python skin from Colombia.
Investigators say González funded roundtrip plane tickets for people to smuggle handbags to the US. She also allegedly told the couriers to tell airport authorities that the bags were gifts for relatives if asked. There were a total of 12 people each carrying four crocodile handbags. Colombian prosecutors said that she will be extradited to America.
González initially started selling her products in America in 1998 at Bergdorf Goodman department store. Her products are known for their quality and unique design that sets them apart. This distinct, one-of-a-kind quality comes from her bags being handcrafted in her hometown. According to González’s website, her bags are handcrafted by local artisans with “manual ability of ancestral origin.” She employs almost all women and provides child care for their children.
She has two stores in Seoul, Korea and a new one in the IFC mall in Hong Kong. Celebrities such as Britney Spears, Salma Hayek, and Victoria Beckham reportedly bought her renown handbags, but it is unclear if these bags are the ones to have been allegedly smuggled into the US.