WNBA Superstar Held in Russia on After Airport Arrest

A U.S. women’s basketball superstar is being held in Russia after allegedly being caught with illegal drugs at an airport in Moscow.

The basketball player, identified by Russian media outlet Lenta as Brittney Griner, 31, was flagged at Sheremetyevo Airport sometime last month after flying in from New York. Russian customs officials claim she was carrying vaping equipment with cannabis oil cartridges, which are illegal in Russia. She reportedly could face 5 to 10 years in prison.

“As a U.S. citizen was passing through the green channel at Sheremetyevo Airport upon arriving from New York, a working dog from the Sheremetyevo Customs canine department detected the possible presence of narcotic substances in the accompanying luggage,” the Russian Federal Customs Service said in a statement.

“The customs inspection of the hand luggage being carried by the U.S. citizen confirmed the presence of vapes with specifically-smelling liquid, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (hash oil), which is a narcotic substance.”

It was not clear when last month Griner was arrested, but the development comes as Russia is increasingly isolated from the west following its invasion of Ukraine. Last month, the WNBA and the league’s players association warned many of its players, who compete in Russia, Ukraine, and various European nations during their off-season, to get out of the war zone.

“We have been in constant communication with our members and their representatives for several weeks, and we’ll continue to stay abreast of current events,” the league statement read. “The league has also been in contact with WNBA players who are in Russia, either directly or through their agents. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Griner, who is listed at 6-foot, 8-inches tall and was a three-time All-American at Baylor University, has starred for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury as well as UMMC Ekaterinburg, a team based in Yekaterinburg, Russia, since 2015. The team competes in the Russian Premier League and FIBA Europe’s EuroLeague.

Griner helped the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team win gold medals at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Griner is so accomplished that when she came out of college in 2013, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban floated the idea of drafting her to play in the NBA.

6 comments

  • Everyone knows that you cannot carry drug materials into certain countries. If she would give up her drugs when she went into country, then she wouldn’t be in this mess. Feel sorry for her BUT rules are rules and everyone has to obey them. If not, then must pay the consequence’s.

  • well it appears that russia don’t give a shit about her being a “star” of sorts sooo maybe there’s a lesson in there some where she’ll learn? no pity here!

  • We should be aware of this country or any other country’s policies when it comes to drugs; and yes, rules are rules, you don’t want to be imprisoned in a country where they really don’t like you anyway and going to jail too?, this may not end well for this young lady.

  • Michael Spinelli

    Given the negative state of relations between our two countries, Russia is likely to charge and prosecute, ultimately incarcerating her for 10 years. Most definitely regrettable, but I suspect there’s little our government will be able do. Whether she was unaware of their drug laws, or unaware it was in her luggage, it will not matter to the Russians at all. Hopefully her cell is taller than her 6′ 8″ frame. If not she’ll be unable to stand up in it for 10 years.

  • "Da ol' SmokeDog

    Why are you going to take dope into ANY airport where you know they are going to inspect your luggage.

    If she was that hooked on it now she is going to have a golden opportunity to detox for the next 10 years. Wounder if she thinks the end of her career was worth it.

  • I’m going to pray for her

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