WNBA star Brittney Griner has reportedly been arrested in Russia for drug smuggling.
Russia’s Federal Customs Service said it detained an American basketball player who found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage at nearby Sheremetyevo Airport Moscow.
A statement released by Customs Service said the player had won two Olympic gold medals with the USA, but the player’s name was not released.
However, Russian news agency TASS, citing law enforcement officials, identified the player as Brittney Griner, 31.
Griner is a seven-time WNBA All-Star center for the Phoenix Mercury.
She also won gold medals with the US women’s national basketball team in 2021 and 2016.
Customs also released a video showing a traveler at the airport who looked like Griner, wearing a mask and a black sweatshirt, going through security The New York Times reports.
The footage also showed a person taking a package from the traveler’s bag.
According to the independent Russian news agency Interfax, the arrest came in February after Griner flew in from New York.
According to the statement, a criminal case has been opened into large-scale drug transport, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison in Russia.
The player was taken into custody while the investigation was ongoing, officials said.
The WNBA was contacted by The Sun for comment.
The State Department told The US Sun that it was aware of reports of the arrest of a US person in Moscow.
Mercury said in a statement released Saturday morning: “We are aware of and closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia. We keep in constant touch with her family, her agency, the WNBA and the NBA. We love and support Brittney and her This time our primary concern is her safety, physical and mental health and safe return home.”
A WNBA spokesman said in a statement, “Brittney Griner has the full support of the WNBA and our top priority is her speedy and safe return to the United States.”
USA Basketball said in a statement on Twitter: “USA Basketball is aware of and closely monitoring Brittney Griner’s legal situation in Russia. Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and well-being are our primary concern.”
A number of WNBA players compete in the US league’s off-season in Russia, where they can earn lucrative salaries.
Griner has been playing for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg for several years.
Some American players began making plans to leave Russia after invading the country in Ukraine.
“The few WNBA players who competed in Ukraine this offseason are no longer in the country,” the WNBA said in a statement to ESPN this week. “The league has also been in contact with WNBA players who are in Russia, either directly or through their agents. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/4829704/brittney-griner-arrested-russia-drug-smuggling-charges-wnba/ WNBA star Brittney Griner ‘arrested in Russia for drug smuggling after vape cartridges found in luggage’