(NEW YORK) — A JetBlue flight attendant who was charged with attempting to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of cocaine in her suitcase at Los Angeles International Airport has been granted $500,000 bail and a family spokesman said she didn’t know what was in the bag.
Marsha Reynolds, of Queens, New York, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute the cocaine after she dropped the drugs at the security checkpoint and fled from the airport on Friday, according to prosecutors and court documents. She surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Administration at JFK Airport in New York Wednesday.
The 31-year-old, who has worked for JetBlue for six years and is a full-time nursing student, is expected to remain in custody until Friday at 2 p.m. as authorities determine whether to extradite her to California. Her family and church pastor, Rev. Susan Slater, placed their homes up as equity so she could make bail, family spokesperson Allan Jennings said outside the courthouse.
The judge granted bail in large part because Reynolds surrendered. Once released, she will be required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. While under house arrest she’ll be able to travel to school and to consult with attorneys. Her passport was seized.
If convicted, Reynolds could face 10 years to life in prison.
At the courthouse, Reynolds’ family held hands with Slater as the group prayed for her. Slater contributed to Reynolds’ bail because “she has faith in her,” Jennings said.
Reynolds’ father is a former cop and she comes from a “good immigrant family,” Jennings said.
“She maintains she did not know what was in the bag when she was at the airport,” Jennings said.
A criminal complaint says Reynolds was randomly selected for an additional screening when she approached the “known crew member” checkpoint at LAX. She then dropped her luggage, removed her shoes, and fled the area, prosecutors said in a statement. She even ran down an upward-moving escalator to get away TSA officers, the statement added.
Law enforcement at the scene did not chase her in order to make sure the bags didn’t contain “explosives or any dangerous devices,” officials said.
Investigators found 11 packages of cocaine, each labeled “BIG ranch,” inside the bags.
JetBlue had issued a statement saying, “We are cooperating with authorities on their investigation.”
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