BROOKLYN (CN) - The federal government wants to get its hands on nearly 300 pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes made from the skin of a rare species of snake, worth a total of $43,000.
The shoes were made of the dog-faced water snake, Cerberus rynchops, a species that's been listed as endangered since 1973.
The shoes came through John F. Kennedy International Airport in July 2013, by way of Italy, but the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seized the shipment when its bill of lading didn't identify where the goods were produced and what animal skins were used in their production.
The feds say the snake skins used to make the shoes, the price of which can reach into the thousands, were sent to Hong Kong from China, then to Italy, then to the United States.
The trendy footwear is a Hollywood staple, a status symbol among the rich and famous, perhaps made most famous by the shoe-loving character Carrie Bradshaw from the TV show "Sex and the City."
An email sent to the London-based shoe company seeking comment was not returned Tuesday morning.
The government wants to keep the shoes. It is represented by Robert Capers, a U.S. attorney in Brooklyn Federal Court.
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