Inside the sky-high world of drug-smuggling flight attendants
Terese White, 41, was meant to fly to Boston. Instead, she landed in police custody.
Last October, White was a Mesa Airlines flight attendant touring from Dallas to San Diego. Between flights, she exited the SoCal airport and returned later that day to go from San Diego to Boston. As is the habits of flight attendants, in accordance together with her plea settlement, White, a Dallas resident, “attempted to utilize the Known Crew Member queue” — a TSA security line that lets airline employees sail by with decreased screening.
“You have a KCM card. You scan the card, show your company ID and driver’s license and walk right through,” a former Mesa Airlines flight attendant instructed The Post. “But, sometimes, you get a ‘random.’ That’s when you are randomly chosen to go through the security that everybody else goes through.”
Unfortunately for White, this was the day she was chosen.
She’s now awaiting sentencing after pleading accountable to 1 account of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. White is just the most up-to-date flight attendant to make use of what the US Attorney’s Office inside the Southern District of California known as “privileges as a flight attendant” as a instrument for smuggling medication.
Like the title character of the Quentin Tarantino movie “Jackie Brown,” crooked flight attendants uncover frequent journey plus lax security a tempting combination. Paid off by drug sellers, just a few of them flip their privilege proper right into a side hustle: showing as helpful mules to maneuver contraband throughout the United States.
“It stands to reason that this [smuggling by flight attendants] is commonly done,” authorized skilled Dennis Ring, who represented convicted flight attendant Marsha Gay Reynolds, instructed The Post. “I would think this is quite common but they don’t get caught frequently.”
The random screenings, he recognized, “are an uncommon occurrence.”
The former flight attendant provide recalled an enterprise colleague who “used to go to Mexico and bring back Ritalin, Xanax and Adderall. She did not have prescriptions, she would come back with boxes and sell [the drugs] here.”
As recounted inside the United States District Court criticism, White appeared hesitant to enter the the “advanced imaging technology machine” — the full-body scanner that vacationers step into for low-energy X-ray. Once inside, as per the criticism, White began shaking.
She had good function to be nervous. The machine shortly acknowledged one factor rigged to her mid-section.
Taken into a private room for screening, White eradicated what’s described as “a large mass wrapped around her abdomen” — nonetheless she insisted that it was “not what you think.”
She instructed screeners that the material was a “mercury pack” designed for weight discount. Los Angeles-based weight-loss physician Dr. Abe Malkin instructed The Post: “I’ve never heard of a ‘mercury pack’ for weight loss. As far as I know, it doesn’t exist.”
A verify of the pack revealed the actuality, though: The criticism alleges that White was making an attempt to smuggle and transport better than three kilos of fentanyl.
According to an announcement from the United States Attorney’s Office, White pleaded accountable this earlier December and admitted that she “attempted to use her status as a flight attendant, a position of trust, to facilitate the offense.”
She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24. Her authorized skilled didn’t return requires comment. Mesa Airlines didn’t comment.
The former flight attendant provide attributed the unraveling of White’s drug smuggling scheme to harmful luck and harmful planning. “She probably would have avoided getting busted if not for the random. Also, if [the drug pack] was in her suitcase instead being attached to her body, I don’t know that she would have gotten caught.”
What she does know is that fellow flight attendants are ticked off at White consequently of her crime has screwed up an outstanding issue for the the rest of them.
“Everyone is kind of annoyed. Going through KCM, [they’re] getting randomed all the time now. One person ruins it for everybody else,” the provide said. “Doing something like [what White did] is pretty f–king ballsy .. and f–king stupid. You lose your job and the ability to see the world. I would never risk doing that.”
Though White went quietly for her random screening, completely different airline employees are further brazen. Such was the case, at the very least initially, with magnificence queen turned JetBlue flight attendant Marsha Gay Reynolds. As The Post reported in 2016, when the then 34-year-old was stopped for screening at LAX in Los Angeles, she kicked off her Gucci heels, dropped her baggage and bolted.
Inside her baggage: 70 kilos of cocaine, with a avenue price of $2 million.
Somehow, Reynolds reportedly managed to board a flight to New York and, upon landing, hole up in a Hilton Hotel near JFK sooner than turning herself in.
According to the United Sates Department of Justice, Reynolds had been enlisted in her misdeeds by a Jamaican man named Gaston Brown. The DOJ acknowledged that that the 2 had collaborated to smuggle illicit substances on six completely completely different occasions. Last 12 months, Brown was sentenced to 165 months in federal jail for charges that embody two counts of conspiracy to personal and distribute cocaine.
This earlier November, Delta flight attendant Marcelo Chaves and his boyfriend, had been arrested whereas exiting a Brazil to Miami flight. According to Miami’s channel 10 data, Robert Brisley of US Customs and Border Protection said that they’d been busted for “possession and transportation of narcotics.”
Aa per the report, the 2 had been allegedly carrying medication, along with methamphetamine and ketamine, saved in plastic bottles. Chaves and his beau admitted to “doing drugs in Brazil” nonetheless expressed no data of the illicit objects of their suitcase. They at the second are contending with felony drug trafficking charges.
The lawyer for Chaves didn’t comment. A Delta spokesperson instructed The Post, “Delta continually cooperates with law enforcement entities and the off-duty flight attendant in question has been suspended pending outcome of an investigation.”
Some flight attendants are slicker than others. Rohan Myers, as quickly as a high-flyer for Caribbean Airlines, had an elaborate set-up beneath his pants. According to a jail criticism filed in 2015, whereas on the job, he wore “spandex type compression garments” beneath his clothes, containing molded inserts that contained virtually seven kilos of cocaine.
Like White, Myers was carried out in by an sudden search. Once he started “sweating profusely and answering questions with his head lowered,” customs officers grew to develop into suspicious. Myers admitted to being promised $10,000, upon provide of the medication, by an individual he known as Bigga NFI.
Myers’ authorized skilled and Caribbean Airlines didn’t present comment.
“Flight attendants are easy pickings if you’re a calculating drug smuggler,” said Reynolds’ authorized skilled Dennis Ring. “The flight attendants are not wise to the world. I suspect that half the time these people are not aware of the severity of what they are doing. People don’t even realize that this is a federal offense. They don’t ask a lot of questions.”
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