US Basketball Star Brittney Griner

Sentenced For 9 Years On Drug Charges

An American Women's Basketball star player was convicted of intentionally smuggling drug into Russia and was sentenced to nine year imprisonment on Thursday. 

Brittney Griner

Griner was sentenced by Judge Anna Sotnikova at the Khimki court. She was fined 1 million rubles or approximately $16,400

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Griner was Double Olympic Medalist and has admitted to possessing cannabis oil but said she made an 'honest mistake'.

Her lawyers also pointed out that the U.S. doctor prescribed medical marijuana to the basketball star for chronic pain in the offseason and had never failed a drug screen.


Griner was detained in February, one week before Russia invaded Ukraine. It was speculated that Griner's detention was a plot by Putin's govt. to leverage her against the U.S.

Cathy Engelbert, WNBA Commissioner, and Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, stated in a statement that Thursday's verdict and sentencing were "unjustified and unfortunate but not unexpected." 

US President Joe Biden

released a statement after the verdict: "one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney." 

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