WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia in February for bringing cannabis oil into the country while traveling for a basketball game. Griner brought vape cartridges with her containing cannabis oil, a prohibited substance in Russia. Today the 31-year-old was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison, after she was found guilty of possession and smuggling of illegal drugs.
The Biden administration is attempting to work out a prisoner exchange where Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine detained in 2018 in Russia of espionage charges, would be released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The White House released the following statement:
“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”