A well-known leading celebrity designer, Nancy Gonzales whose accessories have even been used by celebrities as well as characters on popular shows like ‘Sex and the City’ was recently arrested in her hometown in Cali, Colombia and she now faces extradition charges to the US and the charges against her are for smuggling crocodile handbags.
The designer, Nancy Gonzalez faces charges in the US district of Florida and she could be looking at 25 years of prison as well as a $500,000 fine.
As per law sale of certain types of crocodile bags is considered legal, it still requires a certificate and this can be expensive and tough to obtain.
As per investigators in US as well as Colombia, Gonzalez has reportedly smuggled in hundreds of handbags and she did so by paying passengers to carry them as part of their personal luggage on their flight into the US and then she also instructed them to say that these bags were gifts for their relatives and friends in case they were asked any questions by customs.
These crocodile handbags go on sale in designer stores in US and Europe for as much as $10,000.
In 2019, two investigators who were working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reportedly told the A.P (Associated Press) that there were as many as 12 people who carried four handbags each and they all boarded a single flight to US with round-trip tickets that Gonzalez had bought for them.
The investigators did not reveal the identities of the travellers to protect their identities. Gonzalez is believed to have started out with belts and then progressed to handbags in the late 90s. This was following a trip she made to the US where a designer store executive in NY encouraged her to start a collection of handbags.
Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Salma Hayek and Britney Spears have reportedly purchased Gonzalez’s crafted handbags but it is as yet unclear if their purchases were from the illegally brought inventory.
Gonzalez’s work has also been a part of the 2008 exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY.
In an interview she gave in 2019, Gonzalez had told the Miami Herald that she felt she had “an enormous responsibility and commitment” to improve upon her products and she felt so each time she saw any celebrity picture or video using her handbags.