A JetBlue flight attendant traveling from Los Angeles International Airport last week fled after being subjected to a random security screening, allegedly leaving behind two carry-on suitcases with nearly 70 pounds of cocaine — and her designer shoes.
Federal authorities are still searching for the unidentified JetBlue flight attendant, who remained at large as of Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Flight attendants, pilots and other crew members are not normally subjected to security screenings. But just after 7 p.m. on Friday, TSA agents selected the woman for a random screening in LAX’s Terminal 4.
According to NBC Los Angeles, the flight attendant appeared to be nervous and made a phone call in a foreign language. After being brought to a secondary screening area, the woman suddenly fled, leaving two roller bags and her Gucci shoes behind. The incident was reportedly captured on airport security cameras.
Authorities found 69 pounds of cocaine in the abandoned bags. Los Angeles Airport Police, LAPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration are reportedly investigating the incident.
Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angles Airport Peace Officers Association, told the AP that the incident illustrates why flight attendants and crew members should be regularly screened.
“With her bringing this amount of narcotics in the airport, chances are this wasn’t her first time through,” McClain said. “We’re hoping this is a wake-up call to airport management as well as federal legislators.”
This is not the first time that so-called airport or airline “insiders” in California have been caught with drugs.
In May 2014, four baggage handlers at San Diego International Airport were indicted on charges of conspiring to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine onboard flights, using their ability to move around without being subjected to security screenings as cover.
In December, authorities charged a 28-year-old TSA agent at Oakland International Airport with operating a long-running marijuana smuggling scheme.