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Celebrity Handbag Designer Nancy Gonzalez Sentenced for Wildlife Smuggling

  • Posted on April 23, 2024
  • News

Handbag designer Nancy Gonzalez was sentenced to 18 months in prison for smuggling python and caiman skin bags from Colombia into the U.S., violating wildlife protection laws.


Accomplished Colombian handbag creator Nancy Gonzalez, whose lavish accessories adorned stars like the celebrated Britney Spears and the ensemble of "Sex and the City," has been imprisoned for 18 months as of Monday. Her firm, Gzuniga Ltd., and partner Mauricio Giraldo also obtained sentences.

In November last year, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to unlawfully smuggling high-end handbags produced from safeguarded python and caiman skins from Colombia to the United States between 2016 and 2019, breaching the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

As per the U.S. Department of Justice, Gonzalez and her accomplices engaged paid courier partners to sneak the unreported reptile skin bags onto passenger flights, either worn or concealed in luggage. Subsequently, these bags made their way to Gzuniga's showroom in New York for sale at elevated prices.

Talk of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Edward Grace declared, "This inquiry brought to light a long-term plan involving paid couriers smuggling unreported handbags made from CITES-protected reptile skins into the U.S. for sale at thousands of dollars."

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Despite the 18-month sentence, Gonzalez is projected to serve approximately one month due to previous detention subsequent to her arrest in 2022. She was also mandated three years of supervised release and fined $300.

"I deeply apologize to the United States of America," voiced Gonzalez in court. "I never meant to insult a nation to which I owe immense gratitude. I made unwise choices under duress."

With the initiation of her handbag collection tracing back to 1998, the renowned designer's exotic skin creations adorned the Met's Costume Institute. Her legal representatives portrayed her as a pioneer for minority women in business.

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