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Brittney Griner Sentenced To 9 Years In Russian Prison For Smuggling Cannabis Vape Pen

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Brittney Griner Sentenced To 9 Years In Russian Prison For Smuggling Cannabis Vape Pen

There’s ongoing speculation she will be swapped with arms dealer Viktor Boult.

The WNBA star, Brittney Griner, has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for bringing a marijuana pen into the country in February. It’s unknown where the 31-Year-Old will spend her sentence as she has been locked up in Correctional Colony No. 1, or IK-1, since her arrest at the airport in Moscow. 

Before the verdict, Griner had begged for leniency and asked the court to consider her good character. 

A judge reportedly accepted her plea but found her guilty of drug possession and smuggling. In the aftermath, it was ruled that she committed the crimes purposefully, even though Griner has adamantly denied it. She claimed she didn’t want to be considered a political pawn and that bringing the cannabis pen into the country was a simple, honest mistake. 

via REUTERS

“Russia became my second home. I remember vividly coming out of the gym and all the little girls coming out and waiting on me. That’s what kept making me come back here,” Griner said before the verdict.

via AP

She added: “I want to apologize to my teammates, my club and the city for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought. I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, Phoenix Mercury, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home. I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws.”

via Instagram

“I made an honest mistake, and I hope that your ruling doesn’t end my life. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics. But I hope that it’s far from this courtroom.”

via AP

‘I had no intent on breaking Russian law. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime. I hope you can take into account all the documents and the character lists that have been sent in on my behalf. This is my second home. All I wanted to do was win championships and make them proud.”

Griner had acknowledged there were Vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she was arrested at a Moscow airport.

via Telegram

But she insisted she had no criminal intent and that the canisters ended up in her luggage because she was packing hastily. “I still don’t understand how they ended up in my bag,” she said. In the United States, the basketball player had been prescribed medical marijuana to relieve pain from chronic injuries, a treatment method common among elite athletes because it has fewer side effects than some painkillers. 

via AP

As of now, Griner’s attorneys have said they have ten days to appeal the verdict and that the typical sentence handed down for such a crime is six years. 

via AP

Accordingly, the State Department is now in talks to secure Griner’s release as part of a deal that would also bring imprisoned American Paul Whelan home. The deal is on the table, but Russia is yet to agree. However, US officials will not confirm reports that the deal includes freeing Viktor Boult, a Russian criminal known as the merchant of death.

via Getty Images
via Getty Images

On the other hand, Griner’s family says they’ve been frustrated with the White House’s response.

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