Flight Attendant Caught With 70 Pounds Of Cocaine Turns Herself In

Filed Under: Security/TSA

Earlier in the week I posted about the insane story of the flight attendant who was caught with 60 pounds of cocaine at LAX. Airline crews can join the Known Crewmember program, where they can bypass security. However, they’re always subject to additional screening, either randomly or because of suspicious behavior.


That’s exactly what happened at LAX last Friday night. A flight attendant apparently had two carry-ons, and when she was brought to a room for additional screening she ran, leaving behind 60 pounds of cocaine and Gucci shoes. The insane part is that up until yesterday her identity wasn’t revealed, and she wasn’t caught.

LAX-Terminal-Connector - 7

Well, we now have more information, after the flight attendant turned herself in at JFK yesterday. First of all, the flight attendant was 31 year old Marsha Gay Reynolds, and she worked for JetBlue. Also, the initial estimates were on the low side — she was carrying 68.49 pounds of cocaine, valued at roughly two million dollars.

Here’s the craziest part of all this — despite authorities knowing her identity, she was still able to get on a flight on her own airline the following day to New York, and she was possibly even working the flight. Per The Los Angeles Times:

After fleeing, Reynolds managed to board one of her company’s planes and travel to New York City, a law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times.

Reynolds may have worked as an attendant on the Saturday flight to New York, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details of the case.

Investigators had yet to identify Reynolds on Saturday, so it is unlikely she raised any alarms when passing through airport security the next day, the source said. It was not clear what airport she flew out of on Saturday.

How pathetic is our airport security that someone can flee from Terminal 4 at LAX without getting caught? That’s in the middle of the airport, and there are only so many ways out. How bad is the coordination between the TSA and airport police? But even worse is that despite them knowing her identity, she was still able to fly the following day, and may have even been working the flight!

Can we just stop for a second and acknowledge what a massive security failure that is, especially if she was actually working the flight? Unbelievable.

Even after all that they still didn’t catch her, but rather she turned herself in to Drug Enforcement Administration agents at JFK Airport. She faces a minimum of 10 years in jail, if convicted.

Some are calling for airline employees to once again be screened at airports, which I agree with:

Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn., said this week that the incident highlights the need for airline staff members to be subject to the same scrutiny as other passengers traveling through LAX.

“Just like traveling passengers, airport and airline employees should undergo the same screening to help decrease the opportunities for these employees to commit crimes and to help eliminate ‘insider’ or ‘lone wolf’ criminal activity,” he said in a statement. “It is long overdue that both of these recommendations be implemented.”


Bottom line

What a story! I think it’s safe to assume this wasn’t her first time trying to smuggle drugs by plane, and I’m sure she’s not the only crewmember who has taken advantage of the lack of screening for airline employees.

What’s stunning is the complete lapse in security throughout this entire incident. First they couldn’t catch her at the airport. Then she managed to get back through security and onto a flight, possibly even working it. It’s one thing if they only realized that lapse while she was in the air, but then they didn’t even catch her on landing. Instead she just voluntarily turned herself in days later.

It’ll be interesting to see if this contributes to a change in screening policies for airline employees.

  1. So the reason I can’t get a pre-departure drink in domestic first class is because the flight attendants are too busy hiding their 70 freaking pounds of cocaine in the galley? But hey, I guess they’re there primarily for our safety…

  2. Well, it is always all about the money. Look at TSA Pre. They give you the “benefit” of fast screening if you pay $85. Then you get to the airport and the TSA Pre line looks like a zoo. Soon it will be better to not have a TSA Pre so you can get a faster screening. Oh and BTW the screening is a big joke and it does not follow a standard procedure. How can the watch I am wearing trigger the metal detector alarm in one airport but not in the other? How my travel shoes go without any issues in one TSA line but not on others? Who decides if my light winter jacket is thick enough that I cannot go through screening wearing it? And then you hear stories of people bringing all sorts of stuff that they shouldn’t inside airplanes. Now after the terrible incidents that happened in Brussels there are people asking for a pre-screening outside the terminal. Well, how about they screen me before I live my house? Sorry but the world we live today is out of control.

  3. 70 pounds…unless she has someone to roll over on I would have been heading for a non extradition country…hopefully she made enough money on her other runs!

    But really how bad is the TSA? They are there just to make people feel like they are safe but really don’t accomplish/stop anything!

  4. @Santastico
    They have prescreened out side the airport in Tel Aviv for decades now and you know what? it works. I hated going to the airport in Israel because everyone is treated like a criminal, but at the end of the day in this crazy world I think as long as people are willing to put on a suicide vest and blow themselves or detonate the hundred pounds of explosives in their luggage somethings drastically needs to change. The TSA is obviously unable to do their job.

  5. No wonder TSA did not catch her. I’m sure average person could escape some TSA officers, but if you’re a track athlete…

  6. “They are there just to make people feel like they are safe but really don’t accomplish/stop anything!”

    Exactly. It’s called “security theater” and every time you purchase an airfare, you’re quite literally buying a ticket (that’s what the TSA tax is) whether you want to be part of the show or not.

  7. TSA doesn’t accomplish anything other than make people feel safer. I think random checking for flight crew is sufficient. If the crew wants to do something terrorism related, they control the aircraft. They don’t need to smuggle anything. Increased resources checking crew will just catch more drug runs like this (which won’t stop the drugs, just make it take roads vs flights).

  8. Of course this raises the question of whether they would have done anything different/better if she’d been carrying explosives. Maybe not, and that’s a concern. But it really doesn’t bother me that TSA isn’t good at catching/identifying/stopping coke smugglers. It’s not their job at all.

  9. It’s an embarrassing incident, but if security as a whole was as ineffective as some claim here, there would be much more terrorist attacks on planes.

  10. Quite strange actually, I saw an episode of “Air Crash Investigation”, someone in an airline got fired by his director, he then revenged by taking a gun to the flight where the director was flying and shot him to death and also took the whole flight to the hell. After this incident, all of the staff from airlines must be screened just like all passangers. Why was this lady not screened through the security checkpoint?

  11. Airline crews need to be subjected to the same checks as everyone else. It is a massive security hole. How she was able to board another plane tells me someone in law enforcement needs to be fired for incompetence.

  12. Hilarious. Not the least bit because TSA did not identify any threats to air safety (though that might be the case if she was sampling her product while working, though there is no evidence of that).

    TSA needs to stick to basic mission instead of playing wanna be DEA agents. Does not give you a lot of confidence that they could stop anyone who steals one of the thousands of airline employee badges floating around.

  13. No matter where the passengers are screened it still forms a line with lots of people. Terrorist stands in line and just at the maximum congested point detonates. It appears we can’t stop stupid no matter how it’s set up.

  14. I contend tsa is running at a profit with the $5+ fee on departing tickets and the volume of passengers they check ( someone is making big bux for sure, not persons doing the work)

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