This Beauty Pageant Flight Attendant Tried To Smuggle 68 Pounds Of Cocaine Onto Plane

Marsha Gay Reynolds is a JetBlue flight attendant and former Jamaican beauty pageant winner. She arrived at a security checkpoint in Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 4 around 7 p.m. on Friday, March 18. She was dressed in jeans and a suit jacket; she had two carry-on bags and a large purse.

Miss Jamaica World

Crew members such as flight attendants are not usually screened at LAX, but she was asked to move on to a secondary screening. At this point, she made a call and began to speak in a foreign language as a supervisor escorted her to the secondary screening area.

This is where things get interesting. When the supervisor asked to see her identifying documents again, she dropped her bags, kicked off her Gucci heels, and ran down an upward escalator, according to the criminal complaint. As it turns out, Reynolds, 32, was a track star in college at NYU.

The supervisor did not attempt to pursue Reynolds; his primary concern was the abandoned luggage that she had left behind as it presented a public safety issue. Officers were alerted about the unattended bag, but not the suspicious person running through the airport.

(Los Angeles Airport Police)

Police officers found 11 packages wrapped in cellophane and labeled “BIG Ranch.” The packages contained envelopes which were filled with, in total, 68.49 pounds of a substance that tested positive as cocaine.

Reynolds successfully boarded a flight to New York, and remained at large until Wednesday, March 24. She surrendered to authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport. A federal judge in New York initially set bond at $500,000 on Friday. Later, the U.S. Attorney’s office ruled that she should be held in custody until a bond hearing could be set in a Los Angeles federal court.

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Marshall McClain, president of the union that represents LAX airport police offices, thinks this case shows why flight attendants and other airport staff should be regularly screened. He said:

“With her bringing this amount of narcotics in the airport, chances are this wasn’t her first time through. We’re hoping this is a wake-up call to airport management as well as federal legislators.”

McClain’s concerns aren’t new.

“Flight attendants and other crew members are not normally subjected to searches, but this is a perfect example of why Los Angeles airports need 100 percent screening of all passengers and airport employees” the union president, Marshall McClain, told MyNewsLA, calling for 100 percent screening of all passengers and employees.

[Photo by Los Angeles Airport Police]
[Photo by Los Angeles Airport Police]
Here’s the affidavit:

And McClain thinks it’s likely that this wasn’t the first time Reynolds pulled this stunt.

“I don’t believe anybody would trust a mule with that amount of dope the first time out,” he said. “You’re talking about $2 million worth of cocaine…. That’s pretty troubling. This is more than likely not her first time doing this.”

Here’s a photo of her stash of cocaine, which is worth about $3 million on the street, according to Heavy.

(Los Angeles Airport Police)

From Eileen Decker, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California:

“Our nation’s security depends on every individual with security clearances to honor the trust placed in them,” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Eileen Decker, said in a statement. “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. The intervention of the Transportation Security Administration and law enforcement ensured the safety of the passengers and staff at LAX.”

Photo: Tyronne Payton
Photo: Tyronne Payton

Reynolds won third place in the 2008 Miss Jamaica World competition, and was runner-up in the 2007 Miss Jamaica Universe pageant. From Heavy:

According to a biography provided by the 2008 Miss Jamaica World competition, Reynolds was also the first runner-up in Miss Jamaica US in 2005. She was a “local government representative for Eastern Kingston,” and was working for the Law Offices of Andrew Hirschhorn, a Bronx, New York, law firm, at the time.

Here’s a video:

Featured image via Flickr, available under a Creative Commons license.