Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, was arrested in Russia on drug charges for carrying vape cartridges in her luggage.
Brittney Griner, a WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist, was detained in Russia on drug smuggling accusations and could face up to ten years in jail.
The Russian Federal Customs Service held Brittney after discovering vape cartridges carrying cannabis oil in her luggage, according to The New York Times.
The Customs Service confirmed that a two-time Olympic gold medalist from the United States had been held, but did not reveal her name.
Brittney Griner, 31, was later recognized by a Russian news outlet as the player. A security video obtained by the New York Times shows a player who seems to be Griner passing through security wearing a sweatshirt and face mask, then someone, likely a customs employee, removing something from her luggage.
According to the independent Russian news outlet Interfax, Griner was arrested in February, shortly after arriving from New York at Sheremetyevo Airport.
Brittney has been a part of the Russian team Ekaterinburg in the Euroleague during the WNBA off-season since 2015. She was a member of the 2014 WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury and the 2016 Olympic gold medal team.
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in frequent touch with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA,” Brittney’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said in a statement to ESPN.
We are unable to speak further on the specifics of her case due to the continuing legal situation, but we can confirm that as we fight to bring her home, her mental and physical health remains our first priority.”
Griner “has the WBNA’s full support, and our main objective is her fast and safe return to the United States,” according to the WBNA.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many American players began making arrangements to depart, and a WNBA official announced on Saturday that all WNBA players except Griner were out of Russia and Ukraine.