Britney Greener was arrested last month at Moscow airport after Russian authorities said vape cartridges were found while inspecting her luggage.
Russia’s customs service said on Saturday that the cartridges had been identified as containing cannabis-derived oil, which could result in a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Customs identified the detainee as a player of the U.S. women’s national team and did not specify the date of her arrest. Russian media reported that the player was Greener, and her agent Lindsay Kagawa Kolas did not dispute these reports.
“We know about the situation with Britney Greener in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, as well as the WNBA and NBA,” Kagawa Kolas said on Saturday. “As this is an ongoing legal case, we cannot comment further on the specifics of her case, but we can confirm that as long as we work to bring her home, her mental and physical health remains our main concern.”
On Saturday, the State Department advised Russia not to “drive” because of its invasion of Ukraine and called on all US citizens to leave immediately, citing factors such as “the possibility of persecution of US citizens by Russian government officials” and the limited capacity of the embassy to provide help ”to Americans in Russia.
Greener, who plays for Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, has played in Russia for the past seven years in the winter, earning more than $ 1 million per season – more than four times her salary in the WNBA. She last played for her Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg on January 29, before the league took a two-week break from qualifying for the World Cup in early February.
More than a dozen WNBA players have played in Russia and Ukraine this winter, including league MVP Jonkel Jones and Courtney Vanderslot and Eli Quigley of Chicago Sky champion. The WNBA confirmed on Saturday that all players except Greener had left both countries.
The 31-year-old Greener has won two Olympic gold medals from the United States, the WNBA Championship from Mercury and the National Championships in Baylor. She is a seven-time star in the All-Star Game.
“Britney Greenner has the full support of the WNBA, and our top priority is her speedy and safe return to the United States,” the league said in a statement.
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