Flight attendant accused of ditching cocaine-filled suitcase and fleeing LAX is arrested in NY

Posted at 9:14 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 09:14:40-04

Nearly 70 pounds worth of cocaine was found inside a flight attendant’s abandoned luggage at LAX. (Photo: DEA via KTLA)

NEW YORK — An airline employee who allegedly tried to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of cocaine onto a plane has been arrested in New York City, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said.

DEA agents say Marsha Gay Reynolds surrendered to authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Wednesday.

Reynolds was pulled aside on March 18 for a random screening at Los Angeles International Airport when a Transportation Security Administration officer noticed Reynolds becoming nervous.  She then pulled out her phone and made a cellphone call in a language the officer didn’t understand, FBI Special Agency Trayvon Barnes wrote in an affidavit.

When she was being escorted to a secondary screening area, Reynolds remained on the phone and then took off her shoes, dropped her bags and ran down an up escalator, Barnes wrote.

A responding airport police officer couldn’t find Reynolds, but the bags were inspected and the drugs were found.

In Reynolds’ two carry-on bags, investigators found about 68 1/2 pounds of cocaine in 11 packages individually wrapped in green cellophane, according to the complaint.

Each was labeled “BIG Ranch,” the complaint said.

Reynolds was apparently a contestant in the 2008 Miss Jamaica World pageant. She came in second runner-up, according to a photo posted of the finalists.

The union said the case is an example of why LAX should screen all people entering the airport, like Miami and Orlando’s international airports do.

“LAX is the top west coast terrorist target and has been the site of airport employees smuggling drugs aboard aircrafts and other criminal activities,” the statement said. “100 percent screening has the potential to stop an “insider” or “lone wolf” terrorist attack and to help decrease the opportunities for airport employees to commit crimes.”

Reynolds will appear in federal court in New York City before she is returned to Los Angeles

CNN contributed to this report.