WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner has been arrested in Russia for drug trafficking and faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years. According to The New York Times, agents from the Russian Federal Customs Service arrested Brittney after finding vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage.
Customs said their officers arrested an American player who had won two Olympic gold medals, but did not release her name. Russian intelligence later identified the player as 31-year-old Brittney Griner. Security video seen by The Times shows a player who appears to be a Griner walking through security wearing a sweatshirt and face mask, then shows someone, believed to be a customs officer, removing something from his bag. According to the independent Russian news agency Interfax, the arrest took place in February shortly after Griner arrived at Sheremetyevo airport from New York.
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Brittney, a member of 2014 WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury and the 2016 Olympic gold medal winning team, has played for Russian team Yekaterinburg in the Euroleague since 2015 during the WNBA offseason.
Brittney's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said in a statement to ESPN: "We are aware of Brittney Griner's situation in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representative in Russia, her family, her teams and the WNBA and the NBA. As this is an ongoing court case, we are unable to comment further on the specifics of his case, but we can confirm that his mental and physical health remains our primary concern as we're trying to get her home."
The WBNA also released a statement saying Griner "has the full support of the WBNA and our top priority is his speedy and safe return to the United States."
Many American players began to consider leaving Russia after the country invaded Ukraine, and a WNBA spokeswoman said Saturday that all WNBA players except Griner, were not from Russia and Ukraine.