The Russian Federal Customs Service mentioned that its officers had detained an American basketball participant after discovering vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her baggage on the Sheremetyevo airport close to Moscow.
The Customs Service mentioned in a press release that the participant had received two Olympic gold medals with america, nevertheless it didn’t launch the participant’s identify. The Russian information company TASS, citing a regulation enforcement supply, recognized the participant as Brittney Griner, a seven-time W.N.B.A. All-Star middle for the Phoenix Mercury. Griner received gold medals with the U.S. girls’s nationwide basketball crew in 2020 and 2016.
The Customs Service launched a video of a traveler on the airport that seemed to be the 31-year-old Griner, sporting a masks and black sweatshirt, going by safety. The video confirmed a person eradicating a bundle from the traveler’s bag.
In line with the assertion, a legal case has been opened into the large-scale transportation of medication, which might carry a sentence of as much as 10 years behind bars in Russia. The basketball participant was taken into custody whereas the investigation is ongoing, the officers mentioned.
Griner’s agent and spokespeople for the W.N.B.A. and the Phoenix Mercury didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The detainment comes amid the escalating battle created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and excessive tensions between Russia and america. In recent times, Russia has been detaining and sentencing Americans on what United States officers typically say are trumped-up fees. The arrest of a high-profile American may very well be seen as Russia trying to create leverage for a possible prisoner change with the American authorities.
Many W.N.B.A. gamers compete in Russia, the place salaries are extra profitable, throughout the American league’s low season. Griner has performed for the Russian crew UMMC Ekaterinburg for a number of years.
Some American gamers started planning to go away Russia following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The few W.N.B.A. gamers who have been competing this low season in Ukraine are now not within the nation,” the W.N.B.A. informed ESPN in a press release this week. “The league has additionally been involved with W.N.B.A. gamers who’re in Russia, both straight or by their brokers. We’ll proceed to intently monitor the scenario.”