Friday, August 12, 2022

American Olympic medalist pleads guilty to drug charges in Russian court

Brittney Griner is being tried on drug smuggling charges punishable by up to 10 years.

• July 7, 2022
Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner [Photo credit: CBS Sports]

American basketball player and Olympic medalist Brittney Griner have pleaded guilty to drug charges in Russia.

On Thursday, Ms Griner admitted to bringing cannabis into the country. However, she maintained that she had packed in a hurry and did not intend to break the law.

It was the second court appearance since the Phoenix Mercury centre’s trial began last week. 

A judge had previously ordered her to be detained for the length of the trial, however, Ms Griner’s lawyer opposed it, saying the trial could last up to two months and will likely involve several hearings by the prosecution before the defence could respond.

Ms Griner has now been held in Russian custody for 130 days. Her detention has been shifted multiple times and her requests to be detained at home were denied.

In February, Russia’s Customs Service arrested Ms Griner after staff at Sheremetyevo International Airport found cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. She has been held since then on drug smuggling charges punishable by up to 10 years

The statement said drug-sniffing dogs in the airport’s customs area showed the possible presence of narcotic drugs in the player’s carry-on baggage following her arrival on a flight from New York. A search of the luggage revealed the cartridges, a criminal violation under Russian law with a sentence of five to 10 years.

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