US basketball star Brittney Griner faces drug charges in Russia: reports

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Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner is facing drug trafficking charges in Russia after being detained at a Moscow airport, multiple media reported Saturday.

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Russia’s Federal Customs Service has confirmed that an American basketball player was taken into custody after officials found vaping cartridges containing hash oil in hand luggage at Sheremetyevo airport in February .

Russian news agency TASS, citing a police source, identified the player as 31-year-old Griner.

A seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Griner could face up to 10 years in prison in Russia if convicted.

“We are aware of and closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia,” the Mercury said in a statement. “We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the WNBA and the NBA. We love and support Brittney and at this time our primary concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and safe return home. security.

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A WNBA spokesperson told USA Today:

“Brittney Griner has the full support of the WNBA and our top priority is her quick and safe return to the United States.”

USA Basketball said it is closely monitoring Griner’s legal situation.

“Brittney has always conducted herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and well-being are our primary concerns,” USA Basketball said on Twitter.

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The WNBA Players Association also expressed concern for his safety.

“We are aware of the situation in Russia regarding one of our members, Brittney Griner. Our greatest concern is the safety and well-being of BG,” the WNBPA statement read. “On behalf of 144, we send our love and support. We will continue to follow closely and look forward to his return to the United States.

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Griner has played for a Russian professional team during the WNBA offseason since 2015.

His detention comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the United States, created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month.

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