Well-known NBA star Brittney Griner has had her detention in Russia extended until May 19, according to Russian State News.
Griner was detained in February after the Russian Federal Customs Service said it discovered cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow. The offense could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
“If she was in fact caught with narcotics, it is a very, they take that very seriously in Russia if you are caught with any type of drugs,” said Attorney Eric Cedillo.
Griner was in Russia to compete for a Russian team. As for what is happening now, Cedillo believes more could be in play.
“Brittney unfortunately is going to be dealing with what is happening in the Ukraine, as well in terms of utilizing this potentially as a kind of something of a political pawn in terms of negotiations. Some of the sanctions that we are loading against Russia might come into play,” added Cedillo.
There has been an outpouring of support for Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, and has won two Olympic gold medals with the United States.
Dallas Rep. Colin Allred has been closely following this, and part of a tweet from his says, ”I'm working with the State Department to ensure Ms. Griner is treated fairly within the legal framework and her rights are respected."
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According to a State Department spokesperson, they stated, "We are closely engaged on this case and in frequent contact with Brittney Griner’s legal team."
They went on to say, "We insist the Russian government provide consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention, as Brittney Griner is."
Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner, has posted twice on Instagram about Brittney, asking for privacy. Part of a post from her said, "There are no words to express this pain. I'm hurting, we're hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family."