WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was detained by Russian police on drug charges Tuesday, according to multiple reports. Brittney Griner was taken into custody Tuesday at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and charged with drug smuggling after authorities allegedly found THC oil cartridges in her carry-on luggage.
Russian Federal Customs Service spokeswoman Yulia Malysheva told the Associated Press that a “professional basketball player, a member of the US National Basketball Association, a two-time Olympic basketball champion in the US team,” identified as Griner by the Russian news agency TASS, was detained with 0.5 grams of THC oil cartridges.
It’s unclear why Griner was carrying the vape cartridges, as THC oil is illegal in Russia.
Griner, who is in Russia playing for her team in the EuroLeague Women, was reportedly taken into custody after officers found marijuana in her hotel room.
She has since been released and is expected to return to the United States later this week. “Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full support and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States,” a WNBA spokesperson said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Saturday.
“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,” Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said. “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.”
Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, has spent nine seasons in the WNBA and has led the league in blocks in eight of those years. She has played for Yekaterinburg UMMC in Russia since 2015.
This is not Griner’s first run-in with the law. In 2013, she was arrested for domestic violence after allegedly attacking her then-girlfriend Glory Johnson. She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received a deferred sentence.
Griner is one of the most high-profile players in the WNBA and is considered one of the best women’s basketball players in the world. She is a three-time All-Star and was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2014.
In the meantime, here are five things to know about Brittney Griner.
- She was the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.
- She won a gold medal with the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games.
- She is a three-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
- She plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
- Griner is openly gay and has been married to fellow WNBA star Glory Johnson since 2015.
Brittney Griner is one of the biggest stars in the WNBA, and now she may be facing time behind bars in Russia. This latest news is certainly a setback for Griner, but we will have to see how things play out in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you updated on the situation as more information becomes available.