A flight attendant ditched her designer heels and fled the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday night, leaving behind two bags stuffed with 66 pounds of cocaine and many questions about her apparent role in a large-scale drug smuggling operation.
The flight attendant, who has not been publicly identified, was still on the lam as of Monday evening, according to a law enforcement source who spoke with Reuters. The flight attendant, like other crew members, is not normally subjected to searches, but she was reportedly pulled aside by TSA officers for a random screening in LAX's Terminal 4.
A local NBC News affiliate in Los Angeles reported that the woman ran from the terminal after making a nervous phone call in a language that TSA officers did not recognize, shedding a pair of Gucci shoes as she dashed away from an airport escalator. It's not clear whether she was scheduled to board a flight or was in the process of exiting the airport after landing.
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Los Angeles Airport Police and the Transportation Safety Administration declined comment on Monday. A DEA spokesman said the woman faces felony drug charges.
There have been numerous cases where flight attendants have been caught taking advantage of their baggage privileges by serving as drug mules. Last September, a Caribbean Airlines flight attendant was caught trying to smuggle six and a half pounds of cocaine into South Florida from Montego Bay, Jamaica. The drugs were duct-taped to his thighs and ankles and concealed under long-legged compression pants. He admitted that he'd been paid $10,000 for the job, and was sentenced to just under three years in federal prison.
In September 2013, a JetBlue flight attendant was caught trying to smuggle more than two pounds of heroin onto a flight from Bogota to Orlando. In that case, the woman and her partner in the operation pressed the heroin into pellets meant to resemble chocolates and hid them in a bodysuit that she wore under her uniform, according to the Orlando Sentinel. She admitted that she'd been paid $10,000, and helped the feds bust her accomplice in Central Florida.
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