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Press Release

Fashion Designer Extradited from Colombia to the United States and Arraigned on Criminal Charges Related to the Illegal Importation of Caiman and Python Skin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – Gzuniga, Ltd., and its founder, Nancy Teresa Gonzalez de Barberi, 70, were arraigned today on federal charges arising from the illegal importation of merchandise made from wildlife into the United States from Colombia. 

The three-count indictment charges Gzuniga, Gonzalez, and two other individuals with one count of conspiracy and two counts of smuggling for repeated illegal importation of designer handbags made from caiman and python skin from February 2016 to April 2019.  Both the caiman and python species are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which both the United States and Colombia are signatories.  Gonzalez, a citizen of Colombia, was recently extradited to the United States to face the charges brought against her.  

According to the indictment, the defendants solicited friends, relatives and employees of Gonzalez’s manufacturing company in Colombia to act as couriers and transport the designer handbags on their person or in their luggage while traveling on passenger airlines.  Once the designer handbags were smuggled into the United States, they were delivered or shipped to the Gzuniga showroom in Manhattan, New York, where they were put on display for high-end retailers to view and purchase for re-sale in their stores.  The average retail price for these “Nancy Gonzalez” brand handbags was over $2,000. 

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Stephen Clark for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, made the announcement.

The USFWS Office of Law Enforcement in Valley Stream, New York conducted the investigation.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) Judicial Attaché Office in Bogotá, Colombia provided valuable assistance with securing the arrest and extradition of Gonzalez de Barberi.  The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) was instrumental in supporting the case.  The United States also thanks Colombian law enforcement authorities for their valuable assistance and close collaboration and partnership.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney R.J. Powers of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Watts-FitzGerald for the Southern District of Florida.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at under case number 22-20170-CR.

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Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated September 1, 2023