A former JetBlue flight attendant was sentenced for attempting to smuggle 60 pounds of cocaine worth $3 million in her carry-on luggage, then fleeing when pulled aside for a baggage search at LAX.
Marsha Gay Reynolds, 33, sprinted down an up escalator and out of Los Angeles airport, leaving behind her luggage, after she was randomly selected for secondary screening on March 18, 2016. The following day, Reynolds worked for a JetBlue flight back to New York and surrendered to DEA agents. NBC Los Angeles reported.
Citing her cooperation with prosecutors, a federal judge in Los Angeles has sentenced Reynolds to time she has already in custody two years and will spend additional three years on supervised release. JetBlue flight attendant could face sentence to up to 10 years in federal prison.
A former beauty pageant contestant in Jamaica and New York University track athlete, Reynolds had been a JetBlue employee for six years. Her arrest gained national media attention.
The cocaine discovery was made in Terminal 4 by a Transportation Security Administration security officer who was screening the airline attendant’s carry-on bags as part of a random search. As a crew member, Reynolds would ordinarily get to bypass bag screening.
As the TSA officer led Reynolds to a location to be searched, she made a cell phone call speaking with a heavy Jamaican accent then kicked off her high heels and ran down the escalator and out of airport terminal.
Reynold’s supplier, Jamaican national Gaston Brown, was convicted at trial in February of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute the cocaine and other federal charges. Reynolds testified against him in Los Angeles federal court in exchange for unspecified benefits from prosecutors.
The former JetBlue flight attendant a U.S. citizen, who had been living with her family in Queens, was paid thousands of dollars for smuggling cocaine and money through LAX and John F. Kennedy International Airports on about ten occasions. She started in October 2015, using her crew member status to avoid security screening at both airports, according to prosecutors
Reynold’s abandoned luggage was found to contain 11 individually wrapped packages, labeled “Big Ranch” that were taken to the Los Angeles police’s Forensic Science Division, where the contents tested positive for cocaine, according to court papers.
“It takes a very bold criminal to run through the airport and come back the next day and flee the district,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reema M. El-Amamy said after an early hearing in the case.
After Reynold’s arrest, Brown, 41, fled to Jamaica under a false name. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August 2018.