Out lesbian WNBA player Brittney Griner is being detained in Russia after customs officials said they found hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow in February, according to an ESPN item that cited The New York Times.
The Russian Federal Customs Service alleged it searched luggage believed to belong to Griner and found vape cartridges that contained oil derived from cannabisa crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The customs service released video of an individual who appears to be Grinerwho is six feet nine inches tallgoing through airport security.
The State Department issued a "do not travel'' advisory for Russia on Jan. 23 that warned Americans against traveling to Russia because of "the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy's limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law." Another directive was issued March 5, nine days after Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine.
Like many WNBA players, Griner, who usually plays with the Phoenix Mercury, has played overseas in the winter months, most recently in Russia.
As of March 7, hundreds of people have signed a petition on Change.org to secure Griner's "swift and safe return to the U.S." Tamryn Spruill, a journalist covering women's basketball, started it on March 5.
On March 6, Brittney's wife, Cherelle Griner, posted an image on Instagram thanking supporters.
The petition is at www.change.org/p/secure-brittney-griner-s-swift-and-safe-return-to-the-u-s.