WNBA star Brittney Griner is currently being detained in Russia after customs officials said they discovered hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow in February, according to the New York Times.
The Russian Federal Customs Service said they searched the luggage of Griner, and discovered vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil.
This crime could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in Russia.
Although Griner was not initially named, they did note that it was a player from the U.S. women’s basketball team, but they never specified the date of her arrest.
The customs service released a video of a 6’9 woman going through airport security, looking like Griner.
Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent with Wasserman Group, told ESPN:
“We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Ru”ssia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA.
As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern.”
The State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for Russia on January 23rd, warning Americans to not travel there due to:
“The potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
Another “do not travel” advisory was issued today.
The United States embassy in Moscow sent out a security alert on February 27th, with WNBA players have been leaving Russia over the past week due to the invasion of Ukraine.
A WNBA spokesperson said all of the league’s players competing in Russia or Ukraine, except for Griner, have made it out of those countries.
The WNBA Player’s union said in a statement:
“We are aware of the situation in Russia concerning one of our members, Brittney Griner. Our utmost concern is BG’s safety and well-being. On behalf of The 144, we send our love and support.
We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the U.S.”
Griner, along with a number of WNBA players, has played overseas in Winter months for quite some time, most recently in Russia.
The league said in a statement to ESPN:
“Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full support and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States.”
USA Basketball said in a statement:
“Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns.”
WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia in February on drug smuggling charges after vape cartridges were allegedly found in her carry-on luggage at a Moscow airport, per @interfax_newspic.twitter.com/1bEkyojFTU