Flight attendant smuggling 70lbs of cocaine at LAX surrenders

- A JetBlue Airways flight attendant who allegedly had almost 70 pounds of cocaine in her carry-on luggage and fled when Los Angeles International Airport security officials pulled her aside for a random baggage search is expected to make her initial court appearance in New York today.

Marsha Gay Reynolds, who allegedly kicked off her Gucci high heels as she fled Friday night, surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in New York on Wednesday, officials said.   Reynolds was charged Wednesday in Los Angeles with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

A former beauty contestant, Reynolds was second runner-up in the 2008 Miss Jamaica pageant.

The drug discovery was made Friday afternoon in Terminal Four by a Transportation Security Administration security officer who was screening the airline attendant's carry-on bags as part of a random search, according to an FBI affidavit.

As the TSA officer led Reynolds to a location to be searched, she made a cellphone call -- speaking in what sounded like a foreign language -- then kicked off her shoes and ran from the terminal down the up escalator, the
affidavit said.

The agent didn't pursue because his primary concern was the bags Reynolds was carrying and airport police who conducted a search for Reynolds couldn't find her, authorities said.

Reynolds' abandoned luggage was found to contain 11 individually wrapped packages -- labeled "Big Ranch" -- that were taken to the Los Angeles police's Forensic Science Division, where the contents tested positive for
cocaine.

In the wake of the foiled drug-smuggling attempt, Los Angeles Airport Police Officers Association President Marshall McClain called for 100 percent screening of all passengers and employees at LAX. 

"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" McClain said.

McClain disputed claims it's impossible to screen everyone that comes to work at LAX, pointing out that such screening is done at two prominent Florida airports.

"Miami International Airport and Orlando International Airport screen all of their employees," McClain said. "Miami has screened approximately 38,000 employees since 1999. Total employee screening is realistic and
achievable and it should happen here at LAX."

Requiring 100 percent screening would raise the odds of stopping an insider or lone wolf terrorist attack and help minimize opportunities for airport employees to commit crimes, according to the police union. "The weekend's incident reinforces the (union's) calls for an airport police officer to be stationed within 300 feet of the TSA screening checkpoint,' McClain said.

"While airport police officers are charged with patrolling an entire massive airport terminal, having an officer dedicated to being within 300 feet of the security area ensures that an officer is immediately available to
respond to issues at the screening station. which is the last line of defense in keeping unwanted items off of planes and ill-willed individuals from getting access to planes," McClain said.

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