Russia Claims That American WNBA Player Brittney Griner Is In Their Custody

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Bryan Babb Contributor
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The Russian Federal Customs Service claimed Saturday to have taken American WNBA player Brittney Griner into custody after discovering hashish oil among her possessions at Sheremetyevo airport.

The Russian Federal Customs Service did not immediately identify the detained player as Griner, instead stating that they held an Olympian with two U.S. gold medals, according to the New York Times. Griner’s identity was revealed by Russian News outlet TASS, which claimed to have obtained the information from law enforcement, the outlet reported.

A video from the Customs Service shows an individual at Sheremetyevo, apparently Griner, passing through airport security. The video appears to show personnel stopping Griner, who is clad in a black mask and sweatshirt, and removing an item from her luggage.

The Customs Service stated that the video was captured in February, potentially indicating that Griner has been detained for a period spanning days, according to the New York Times. The Customs Service said that the hashish oil was found in a vape cartridge in Griner’s belongings and that a criminal case was initiated to investigate drug movements on a larger scale, the outlet reported. Sentencing for this crime could include imprisonment for up to 10 years, according to the outlet. (RELATED: ‘Mum Won’t Believe Me’: Ukrainians Lament Russian Relatives Who Don’t Think Russia Is At War)

“We are aware and closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia,” Phoenix Mercury, Griner’s WNBA team, said in a tweet. “We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the WNBA and NBA. We love and support Brittney and at this time our main concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and her safe return home.”