Jamaican beauty queen freed after 2 years in US on cocaine charge; no mandatory 10-year sentence

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Marsha Gay Reynolds, the second-runner up in the 2008 Miss Jamaica World competition, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine almost two years ago has been ordered released from jail.

The 34-year-old Jamaican, a runner-up in the Miss Jamaica World 2008 pageant, which sends the country's representatives to Miss World contests, was a flight attendant with JetBlue Airline when she tried to smuggle nearly 60 pounds of cocaine onto a plane at the Los Angeles International Airport in her carry-on baggage.

On Monday, she was sentenced by a federal judge to time served. Normally the charges carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years

The Los Angeles Airport Police reported that the cocaine was worth about US$3 million on the street and US$750,000 wholesale. According to a report in My News LA, the judge cited her "crucial" testimony in the prosecution of her supplier, Jamaican drug dealer Gaston Brown.

"She obviously provided substantial assistance to the government," U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder was quoted as saying.

The judge also reportedly said, without her help, prosecutors would have had a far more difficult time convicting Brown at trial in February for conspiracy and other federal charges.

Brown, 41, was named by a federal grand jury in an indictment accusing him of supplying Reynolds the cocaine that she had attempted to smuggle on to a plane. He is expected to be sentenced in August of this year and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum possible sentence of life.

Meanwhile, Reynolds is expected to be released from custody in time to return home to Queens, New York with her parents who were at her sentencing hearing. She is likely to be released in the next few days and will then spend three years on supervised release, according to City News Service.

On March 18, 2016, Reynolds fled leaving behind her luggage after she was randomly selected for secondary screening at the airport.

She reportedly boarded a flight to Queens, New York, where she has an apartment, then later turned in herself to federal authorities at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

The former Jamaican beauty queen and New York University track athlete was studying to be a nurse while working for JetBlue, her former attorney said.

In court Reynolds acknowledged earning thousands of dollars to help smuggle drugs and money through airport security at LAX and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York by using her 'known crew member' status to breeze past security and then transfer the contraband to a co-conspirator.