Marsha Gay Reynolds, a former JetBlue flight attendant, NYU athlete, and Jamaican beauty queen has plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. She faces at least 10 years in prison under mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
Reynolds, 32, from Queens, NY, plead guilty on Monday, December 12th. The Associated Press reported that she will be sentenced on March 3. CBS News stated that Reynolds was dressed in a white jail jumpsuit Monday with her ankles chained together and wrists shackled to her waist. She hardly looked like a beauty queen as she could barely raise her right hand to pledge to tell the truth before her plea. She spoke in a soft voice and politely answered more than a dozen questions, addressing Judge Virginia Phillips as “your honor” almost every time.
Her lawyer, Stuart Goldfarb, told AP that he expects Reynolds to get a reduced sentence despite the mandatory minimum, but didn’t explain why. Reduced sentences are usually given in exchange for information about co-defendants. However, Goldfarb acknowledged that Reynolds has not been very cooperate with authorities.
Marsha Gay Reynolds – Former JetBlue Flight Attendant and Drug Smuggler
According to The Fix, the former pageant queen was selected for a random screening at LAX on March 8th. The screening is normally something which crew members bypass. In her case, TSA officers reported that she became visibly nervous then kicked off her Gucci heels and ran out of Los Angeles International Airport. LAPD officials then searched her bag and found 11 bricks of cocaine totaling 70 pounds that authorities said was worth about $3 million.
TSA officials didn’t immediately identify her, so Reynolds was able to board another JetBlue flight to the East Coast. She spent four days laying low before she finally turned herself in to DEA agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The Fix also said that Reynolds carried out her drug-smuggling scheme with another co-conspirator, identified only as “G.B.” Court documents show that he was in the U.S. illegally, but was able to board flights by stealing identities of mentally disabled men. He also obtained driver’s licenses and passports in their names. He has since fled to Jamaica. It has been confirmed that he was also on many of the same flights as Reynolds.
Reynolds’ plea agreement noted nine different dates she helped the G.B. with drug-smuggling schemes to ship drugs to customers in Massachusetts and other states.
Marsha Gay Reynolds – Acting alone, part of a Larger Operation?
Marsha Gay Reynolds was able to use her crew member status to “facilitate this individual’s drug trafficking operation,” according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. District Attorney’s Office “ She was ferrying the drugs across the country and then bringing the proceeds of the drug sales back to Southern California.”
It is believed that Reynolds and “G.B.” are part of a larger drug smuggling ring. That investigation is still ongoing.
CBS News also reported that four other JetBlue employees were arrested in May of 2014, along with a Delta employee for smuggling $417,000 in drug money onto flights at Boston’s Logan Airport. They received sentences from 14 months to two years.