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Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

    • ex. The court sentenced him to pay a fine for driving over the speed limit.
  1. smuggle
    • ex. Airport security caught a man trying to smuggle stolen jewelry.
    • ex. The staff needs the manager’s authorization before they can read important files.
    • ex. The courier will pick up the package later and deliver it tomorrow.
    • ex. The police caught the felon after he escaped prison last week.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Fashion designer Nancy Gonzalez was sentenced to 18 months in jail for not following U.S. wildlife laws. In a Miami court, she admitted to smuggling crocodile handbags from Colombia. She was arrested in 2022 in Cali, Colombia. Then, she was transferred to the U.S. later. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald compared Gonzalez’s behavior to that of drug dealers.

Gonzalez’s lawyers have asked for forgiveness for the designer. They said that the 71-year-old designer had already been punished for her crimes. Her Colombian company had already stopped operations after her arrest. They also argued that only 1% of her products don’t have proper authorization. Before Gonzalez was sentenced, she apologized to the U.S. and expressed gratitude for the country.

However, the government’s lawyers said that Gonzalez hired couriers whom she instructed to lie when asked about the handbags they were smuggling. “Her mission turned into producing felons,” said Watts-Fitzgerald. Government lawyers also believed that the cost of all the handbags was worth up to $2 million (about ¥311 million). But Gonzalez’s lawyers denied this. They said the skins used for the handbags only cost around $140 (about ¥21,000) each.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Smuggling Items and Products

  • Do you think smuggling products is a serious problem? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think people smuggle some items or products into a country (ex. the item is illegal in the country, it’s difficult to get authorization)? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, how can the relationship between the U.S. and Colombia be affected by the issue? Discuss.

Buying Fashion Products

  • Fashion designer Nancy Gonzalez admitted to smuggling crocodile handbags. As a consumer, is it important to you whether the brands you buy have proper authorization or not? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Imagine that a product you bought was proven to be smuggled. What would you do? Discuss.
  • Government lawyers also believed that the cost of all the handbags was worth up to $2 million. Why do you think some people would like to buy such expensive bags? Discuss.