Brittney Griner of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury was reportedly detained by the Russian Federal Customs Service. A report from the Los Angeles Times mentioned hashish oil in her luggage as the reason for the detainment at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
Russian customs officials allegedly accused Griner of carrying vape cartridges that contained oil taken from cannabis. If proven guilty, she could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in a Russian prison. Griner’s detainment was supposedly part of an investigation into large-scale drug shipping.
Based on the reports, the incident happened last month, which means that the 7x WNBA All-Star could have been detained for at least several days already. Customs officials did not name the basketball Olympian in their reports, but were later identified by a Russian news agency. She was only described in the reports as a member of the U.S. Women’s basketball team.
Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, released an official statement saying:
"We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA.
Other than the formal press release, those working on the case are keeping mum on any further updates:
"As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern."
The union of WNBA Players also released a statement on Griner’s current situation:
"We are aware of the situation in Russia concerning one of our members, Brittney Griner. Our utmost concern is BG's safety and well-being. On behalf of The 144, we send our love and support. We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the U.S."
Brittney Griner and other WNBA stars play in Europe, including Russia in winter
With the WNBA season over, several superstars are heading to Europe to stay in shape and earn money. The lucrative deals in Russia have pushed several female pro-basketball players to compete away from the U.S. Brittney Griner regularly hoops with UMMC Ekaterinburg during the off-season.
Most American players have already started going back to the US when it seemed like war was inevitable between Russia and Ukraine. As of now, all WNBA players have made it out of Russia except Griner.