American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in Russia for drug smuggling, was released in a prisoner exchange. US President Joe Biden confirmed that he is already safe and on his way to his homeland.
The basketball player was accused of unlawfully obtaining, possessing or transporting drugs and smuggling a large amount of drugs. She was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
She was mistaken for a notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. US President Joe Biden signed an order for his release. Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008, but was extradited to the United States two years later. There, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for supporting terrorists and killing Americans, of which he served 12 years.
Griner: Oil in luggage due to carelessness
The actress pleaded guilty but said she had put the hashish oil in her luggage when packing in a hurry and had no intention of smuggling illegal drugs.
She was sentenced to nine years in prison and sent to serve her sentence in a penal colony.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist in 2016 and 2021 and 2014 NBA Women’s Championship champion with the Phoenix Mercury planned to play for the Ekaterinburg professional team during the offseason.
Authorities arrested her for possession of hemp resin in e-cigarette cartridges. These are supposed to be used to treat pain from sports injuries, but Russia does not allow the use of medical marijuana.