No release for former Jamaican beauty contestant accused of drug running- *UPDATE*


A 2008 Miss Jamaica World runner-up remains on remand in a prison in New York, two weeks after abandoning luggage with nearly 70 pounds of cocaine at a security checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), kicking off her heels, and fleeing.

A judge last week set bond at $500,000 for 31-year-old Marsha Gay Reynolds, who allegedly used her credentials as a JetBlue flight attendant to try to get the drugs through the airport on March 18, but the order was stayed pending the hearing of government’s appeal against her bail.

She surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Administration at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on March 23.

Reynolds was randomly selected for additional screening when she showed her official badge and identification to the Transport Security Administration (TSA) officer on duty at a Known Crew Member security checkpoint in Terminal 4 at LAX on March 18.

The davit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Reynolds was escorted to a secondary screening area, and after arriving at that checkpoint, she dropped her luggage, removed her shoes, and fled the area, running down an upward-traveling escalator and away from TSA officers.

When her bags were inspected,11 individually wrapped packages containing a total of 68.49 pounds of cocaine were discovered. The drugs have a street value of US$3 million.

Reynolds was somehow able to board a JetBlue plane the following day and fly home to New York.

She has been charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, she would face a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

Allan Jennings, a former New York City Councilman who said he was a spokesman for Reynolds’ family, said the young woman “may not have been fully aware of what was in the bags” – a claim the flight attendant’s father has also made.

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