Thursday, March 24, 2016
NEW YORK (AP) — A JetBlue flight attendant accused of trying to sneak a suitcase full of cocaine through Los Angeles International Airport and making a dramatic dash to escape says she might not have been sure what was in her bag, a spokesman for her said Thursday as prosecutors suggested she had smuggled before.
|Marsha Gay Reynolds|
Marsha Gay Reynolds, a former Jamaican beauty queen and college track athlete, turned herself in Wednesday to face a federal drug charge.
Authorities said they found 70 pounds of cocaine in her luggage at LAX on March 18 after she was flagged for a random security screening, flung off her high heels and bolted barefoot down an upward-moving escalator. They said she ran out of the terminal and crossed the country to New York. Reynolds' spokesman Allan Jennings, representing her family and her defense lawyer, said, "She may not have been fully aware of what was in the bags".
But Assistant US Attorney Alicia Washington told a court that last week was "not the only time the defendant has engaged in this conduct". Washington didn't elaborate, and Jennings said he was surprised by the claim.
A US magistrate judge set bail for Reynolds at $500,000 and then warned her parents and two friends from her church they could lose their homes if she flees. He gave prosecutors a day to appeal before Reynolds can be freed.
Reynolds, a 31-year-old Jamaican-born US citizen, graduated from New York University and ran track there. She was a runner-up in the Miss Jamaica World 2008 pageant, which sends the country's representative to Miss World contests.
Leaders of the Jamaica pageant were "shocked and surprised" at news of Reynolds' arrest, said organizer Laura Butler, who doesn't know Reynolds. She said Reynolds apparently had travelled to Jamaica to compete while living in New York, as the contest allows for women of Jamaican heritage living elsewhere.
Reynolds arrived last week at a security checkpoint in LAX's Terminal 4 wearing jeans, heels and a black suit jacket and carrying her known crew member badge, an FBI agent's sworn statement said. She was off duty at the time.
Asked to step aside for a random check, Reynolds nervously looked around and made a cellphone call as she was led to a screening area, the statement said. When a Transportation Security Administration officer asked her for identification, she dropped her bag, ditched her Gucci shoes and took off, an affidavit said. A TSA officer said he didn't pursue her because his primary concern was her abandoned luggage.
In it was just over 68 pounds of cocaine, worth as much as $3 million on the streets of Los Angeles, authorities said. more