A JetBlue flight attendant who allegedly fled Los Angeles International Airport after being selected for security screening, leaving behind her Gucci shoes and luggage containing dozens of pounds of cocaine, was in custody Wednesday.
Federal officials said 31 -year-old Marsha Reynolds, of Jamaica, N.Y ., surrendered to DEA agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. She was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute.
It was not immediately clear how Reynolds reached New York. She was last ensure operating barefoot up a down escalator in the Los Angeles airport terminal Friday evening.
According to court documents, Reynolds arrived at an LAX checkpoint in Terminal 4 wearing jeans, heels and a black suit jacket, carrying her “known crew member badge”. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she was actually on duty at the time.
When Reynolds was chosen for a random security screening, TSA Officer Jamie Samuel said the flight attendant became nervous and began looking around before pulling out her cellphone and making a call, in agreement with the affidavit.
Samuel reported that Reynolds was talking on the phone in a foreign speech as she was being taken to a secondary screening area, the affidavit says.
Once in the secondary screening region, TSA Officer Charles James asked for her identification.
“At this time, Reynolds dropped her carry-on luggage, removed her shoes and began to run away, ” according to the affidavit.
James considered Reynolds run down an upward-moving escalator and out of the terminal, the affidavit says, adding that the officer didn’t pursued her because her deserted luggage was his main concern.
LAX police soon after detected 11 packages of cocaine wrapped in green cellophane and labeled, “BIG Ranch” inside one of the suitcases Reynolds had left behind, the affidavit says.
The cocaine weighed 68.49 pounds. Wholesale, the narcotics would be worth about $750,000 in Los Angeles, said Special Agent Timothy Massino, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
On the street of Los Angeles, Massino said the retail value of the cocaine could be as high as$ 3 million.
Security threats from “insiders, ” including airline and airport employees and workers hired by contractors, have been a focus of the TSA, particularly after the December 2014 arrest of several Delta Air Lines baggage handlers. Attorneys allege they smuggled firearms, including an AK-4 7, from Atlanta to New York.
The TSA has said that full screening of all employees would cost too much. Instead, the agency has urged airports to increase random screenings of workers and trade to keep background checks up to date.
“We will pay particular attention to the insider threat, ” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told a Senate committee earlier this month.
Fox News Channel’s Matt Dean and the Associated Press contributed to this report .
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