NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A JetBlue flight attendant was in federal court in Brooklyn Thursday on drug distribution charges.
Marsha Gay Reynolds of Queens surrendered to federal authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday.
Authorities said she hid a nearly 70-pound stash of cocaine in her carry-on luggage as she was passing through security at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.
“I can assure you that there’s more to this story and the facts will come out. Everyone will be surprised there’s more to the story,” the defendant’s spokesman Allan Jennings said.
Reynolds arrived at an LAX checkpoint in Terminal 4 wearing jeans, heels and a black suit jacket, carrying her “known crew member badge,” according to an FBI affidavit in support of the charge against Reynolds. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she was 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, according to the affidavit.
Samuel reported that Reynolds was talking on the phone in a foreign language as she was being taken to a secondary screening area, the affidavit says.
Once in the secondary screening area, 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 saw Reynolds run down an upward-moving escalator and out of the terminal, the affidavit says, adding that the officer didn’t pursue her because her abandoned luggage was his main concern.
LAX police soon after found 11 packages of cocaine wrapped in green cellophane and labeled, “BIG Ranch” inside one of the bags Reynolds had left behind, the affidavit says.
The cocaine weighed just over 68 pounds. Wholesale, the drugs 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 streets of Los Angeles, Massino said the retail value of the cocaine could be as high as $3 million.
Her whereabouts since Friday are unclear, CBS2’s Langford reported, and federal officials said it wasn’t immediately clear how Reynolds reached New York.
She is said to be concerned for her safety.
“That is part of where I mention global concerns and that’s why I can’t go into too much detail,” Jennings said.
An unidentified co-conspirator was mentioned in court, and her defenders suggested that Reynolds was set up with the cocaine in her luggage.
“She may not have been fully aware of what was in the bags,” Jennings said.
Because she turned herself in the judge granted a release on $500,000 bond, conditional on law enforcement in California weighing in on the manner. Reynolds’ parents, church pastor, and a church friend co-signed the bond. She is due back in court on Friday, and has been suspended from her job.
JetBlue issued a statement saying only, “We are cooperating with authorities on their investigation.”
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