Russia’s Customs Service has detained and accused WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner of having vape cartridges in her luggage that contained hashish oil.
The service said Saturday that Griner was detained at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow. The incident happened in February, which means Griner has been in custody for at least several days.
A statement from the customs service did not identify the player, but said she had won two Olympic gold medals with the United States. News agency TASS, citing a law enforcement source, identified the player as Griner.
A criminal case has been opened into the large-scale transportation of drugs, according to the customs service. That can carry a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment in Russia.
Griner, age 31, is a seven-time WNBA All-Star center for the Phoenix Mercury. A statement from the team said, “We are aware of and are closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia. We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the W.N.B.A. and N.B.A. We love and support Brittney and at this time our main concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and her safe return home.”
The WNBA also indicated its support in a statement, while USA Basketball, the body that organizes the Olympics teams, and the WNBA players union also issued statements in support.
Griner has played for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg for several years. Many WNBA players compete overseas during the league’s off-season.
The WNBA indicated that all of its players save Griner were no longer in Russia and Ukraine.
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