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Reports: Brittney Griner facing drug charges in Russia

Sportsnaut
Aug 8, 2021; Saitama, Japan; United States centre Brittney Griner (15) reacts to a call against Japan in the women's basketball gold medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2021; Saitama, Japan; United States centre Brittney Griner (15) reacts to a call against Japan in the women’s basketball gold medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner faces charges of drug smuggling in Russia after being detained at a Moscow airport, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

The Russian Federal Customs Service confirmed that an American basketball player was taken into custody after authorities found vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo Airport in February.

The Russian news agency TASS, citing a law enforcement source, identified the player as Griner, 31.

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

Griner’s agent and spokespersons with the WNBA and Mercury did not return the New York Times’ requests for comment.

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

Her detainment occurs at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the United States, created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month.

–Field Level Media