Last month, WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was detained in the middle of war due to vape cartridges found in her luggage at the airport.
According to Russian officials, the cartridges contained cannabis oil which would carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
“If an individual violates the laws of circulation of narcotic and psychotropic substances, they can be punished under Article 228.1 of the Russian Criminal Code. In the worst-case scenario (if such violation led to injury), a person may be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment and disqualification for the same term” CMS Expert Guides explaining cannabis law and legislation in Russia.
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, did not dispute claims of the star’s status; however, a public statement was made.
“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,” Kagawa Colas said Saturday. “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 WNBA Phoenix Mercury star has played in Russia for seven years in the winter, attaining over $1 million per season. Her last game with Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg occurred on Jan. 29. In early February, the league took a two-week break for the FIBA World Cup.
Several WNBA players played in Russia and Ukraine this winter, including MVP Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot, and Allie Quigley. However, the WNBA confirmed that all players besides Griner had left both countries on Saturday.
“Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full support, and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States,” the league stated in a public statement.
Recently Russian state TV released a photograph of Brittney Griner in custody behind her February arrest.
The photo displays Griner holding up a white paper with her name written on it as she stands against a white wall.
According to the State Department, Due to current situations, Americans in Russia may face “the possibility of being harassed and have been urged to leave the country immediately. The U.S. Embassy is also confined to aiding Americans who may have legal or other issues in Russia.
Updates on the baller’s well-being are not confirmed, nor is her exact location. However, her wife, Cherelle Griner, breaks her silence as she shares her heartbreaking experience on social media.
On Monday, she took to Instagram to express her grief of not hearing from Brittney since her arrest in February.
“We love you, babe! People say, ‘stay busy.’ Yet, there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you. My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats every day that goes by,” Cherelle wrote. “I miss your voice. I miss your presence. You’re our person! There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting; we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family.”
Griner remains detained in a country with strict laws against the LGBTQ+ community.