A Jamaican man who provided nearly 60 pounds of cocaine to a flight attendant to smuggle aboard a flight from Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced Thursday to nearly 14 years in federal prison.
Gaston Brown, 42, of Clarendon, Jamaica, received a 165-month sentence, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
He was convicted in 2018 of charges that included identity theft and conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.
On six occasions in 2015 and 2016, Brown paid JetBlue flight attendant Marsha Gay Reynolds to smuggle drugs and cash in suitcases through crewmember checkpoints at LAX and at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, prosecutors said.
“As a known crewmember, Reynolds was subjected to much lighter screening at airport security checkpoints and would be able to transport the cash and cocaine without being stopped,” the statement said.
Brown, a convicted felon who was in the U.S. illegally, then met Reynolds and retrieved the suitcases at the airport, using identities he had stolen from two mentally disabled men to avoid detection, prosecutors said.
Brown was charged with providing Reynolds with 59.5 pounds of cocaine that she tried to smuggle in a suitcase at LAX in March 2016. Prosecutors said she dropped the carry-on bag after being randomly selected for additional screening, kicked off her heels, then fled down an upward-moving escalator and out of the terminal. She surrendered in New York days later.
She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and was sentenced to time served, leaving prison in 2018.
Submitted by Associated Press