Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty to Drugs Charge in Russia; US Basketball Star Faces 10 Years in Prison

An American basketball star has pleaded guilty to drug charges in Russia. Brittney Griner pleaded guilty on Thursday at a Russian court. She could be jailed for up to 10 years in Russia, which is already targeting the US over western sanctions.

Although in the courtroom, she clarified that she didn't break the law deliberately.

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner Twitter/@brittneygriner

Griner Didn't Want To Break The Law

"I'd like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law. I'd like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare," she said in the courtroom, reported Reuters.

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time Women's National Basketball Association All-Star with the Phoenix Mercury basketball team.

Customs Officials Found Cannabis Oil In Griner's Luggage

In March, Griner was arrested after customs officials detected cannabis oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow.

Russian customs department at the time of Griner's arrests stated that during inspection of her hand luggage the presence of vapes with specifically smelling liquid was confirmed and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (hash oil), which is a narcotic substance.

Griner also wrote a letter to President Joe Biden pleading for help earlier this month. "I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, Olympic friends, or any other accomplishments I'm terrified I might be here forever," she said in the letter.

Washington previously termed Griner's detention a political ploy by Russia but Kremlin continued to maintain that Russia has tough laws on drugs. Many athletes have called for the release of Griner as they claim she has been wrongfully detained.

The National Basketball Players Association previously stated that it is aware of Griner's situation in Russia and pointed out that the association's utmost priority is BG's safety and well-being. "We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the US."

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This article was first published on July 7, 2022