A Jamaican national who supplied a JetBlue flight attendant with nearly 60 pounds of cocaine that she attempted to smuggle onto a plane at Los Angeles International Airport faces sentencing Thursday.
Gaston Brown, 45, was convicted at trial four years ago in Los Angeles of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, aggravated identity theft and other federal charges.
He faces a mandatory minimum of a dozen years behind bars at sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which recommends a 20-year penalty.
Brown supplied the narcotics to Marsha Reynolds, a former JetBlue flight attendant, who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and admitted she attempted to bring the narcotics through a security checkpoint at LAX by using her crewmember credentials. She was sentenced in 2018 to time served — about two years — by a federal judge who cited her crucial testimony in the prosecution of Brown.
Reynolds gained national media attention after she sprinted down an “up” escalator and out of LAX, leaving behind her luggage, after she was randomly selected for secondary screening on March 18, 2016. The following day, she worked a JetBlue flight back to New York and surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
After Reynolds’ arrest, Brown went to Jamaica under a false name. He was arrested months afterward attempting to illegally re-enter the U.S. by boat.
Flight records and testimony by Reynolds showed that prior to her arrest, Brown had paid the flight attendant to transport suitcases of drugs or drug money through checkpoints at LAX and JFK International Airport at least six times between October 2015 and March 2016.
Federal prosecutors said that in order to carry out the scheme, Brown stole the identities of two mentally disabled men and used them to travel across the country with Reynolds and the drugs or drug money he had given her.