A JetBlue flight attendant was arrested in New York on Wednesday after allegedly using her credentials to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last week.
Marsha Reynolds, 31, of Queens, turned herself in to Drug Enforcement Administration agents Wednesday afternoon at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said.
According to a federal criminal complaint, when Reynolds was selected for a random secondary search at the “known crew member” check point inside Terminal 4 at LAX on Friday, she allegedly took off her shoes and sprinted away from TSA agents, leaving the shoes and her luggage behind.
Reynolds ran down an upward-moving escalator to escape from the TSA, officials said.
Authorities who inspected Reynolds’ luggage discovered 11 packages of cocaine inside, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent.
“Our nation’s security depends on every individual with security clearances to honor the trust placed in them,” U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said. “The defendant’s conduct violated that trust and, in the process, exposed the public to a major narcotics transaction and the dangers inherent to such a transaction.”
Reynolds is charged with criminal possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. A U.S. magistrate judge in Brooklyn granted her release on a $500,000 bond but put the order on hold until Friday to allow a judge in California, where she would face trial, to weigh in.
Prosecutors also said in court they were searching for an unidentified co-conspirator involved in the case but offered few details.
A spokesman for the family told reporters there was “more to the story” and that additional facts would emerge as the case proceeded.
If convicted, Reynolds could face between 10 years to life in prison.