California judge denies bail for flight attendant in drug case

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2016 4:45 PM

By Barbara Goldberg

(Reuters) - A federal judge in California on Friday effectively overruled a Brooklyn magistrate and ordered a flight attendant held without bail on charges that she dumped a bag of cocaine and fled authorities at Los Angeles International Airport.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte in Los Angeles came a day after the federal magistrate in the New York City borough of Brooklyn set bail at $500,000 for her release.

Flight attendant Marsha Reynolds, 31, must now remain in custody until she is transported to California to face the charges. Her next court hearing in Los Angeles is set for April 7.

Reynolds, a JetBlue Airways Corp employee and a former college sprinter who was raised in the borough of Queens, is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

She is accused of dropping a bag containing almost 70 pounds (32 kg) of cocaine when she was randomly selected for screening at the Los Angeles airport last Friday, taking off her shoes and dashing away. She later turned herself in to authorities in New York.

The magistrate in Brooklyn had granted her release on a $500,000 bond but put the order on hold until Friday to allow the judge in California, where she would face trial, to weigh in.

On Friday Judge Birotte ordered her "to remain in custody and await transport by the United States Marshal to the Central District of California."

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)