March 24, 2016
Contact: Nicole Nishida
Phone Number: (571) 387-3136
Flight Attendant Who Allegedly Tried To Smuggle Nearly 70 Pounds Of Cocaine Through Security At LAX Arrested On Federal Drug Charges
LOS ANGELES - A JetBlue flight attendant who allegedly attempted to use her credentials to bring nearly 70 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International (LAX) on Friday has been charged with a federal narcotics trafficking offense.
Marsha Reynolds, 31, of Jamaica, New York, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon at John F. Kennedy International Airport after she surrendered to agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division. Reynolds allegedly abandoned 68.49 pounds of cocaine after being directed to a secondary screening area at LAX last Friday.
Reynolds was charged in United States District Court on Wednesday with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Reynolds approached the Known Crew Member security checkpoint in Terminal 4 at LAX Friday evening. After showing her official badge and identification to the Transport Security Administration officer on duty, Reynolds was randomly selected for additional screening. Reynolds was then escorted to a secondary screening area. Upon arriving at this checkpoint, Reynolds dropped her luggage, removed her shoes, and fled the area, running down an upward-traveling escalator and away from TSA officers.
According to the affidavit, law enforcement officials followed protocol to determine that Reynolds’ luggage did not contain explosives or any dangerous devices. An LAX police officer then conducted an inspection of the bag and discovered a total of 11 individually wrapped packages which were later determined to contain cocaine.
If Reynolds is convicted of the narcotics trafficking offense, she would face a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
This investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles International Airport Criminal Enterprise Task (LAACETF), an inter-agency task force based at LAX. The Task Force, which includes representatives of the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division, the FBI, United States Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Los Angeles Airport Police, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The LAACETF provides a coordinated law enforcement effort to target airport/airline internal criminal enterprises that use the aviation system to transport large amounts of illicit drugs throughout the United States and various international destinations. The LAACETF focuses on LAX and other Southland airports, including John Wayne International Airport, the Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport, the Long Beach Airport, Bob Hope Airport, the Van Nuys Airport, and the Santa Monica Airport.