WNBA Star Brittney Griner Detained in Russia on Drug Charges (UPDATE)

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested last month at a Moscow airport after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges.

Brittney Griner

Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Brittney Griner

UPDATED 3/18, 10:40 a.m. ET: Brittney Griner’s request to be released on house arrest has been denied following a hearing in Moscow on Thursday, TMZ reports.

Sources have told TMZ that Griner, who has been visited by her legal team, is doing “OK” but wants to get back home.

UPDATED 3/17, 10:23 a.m. ET: Brittney Griner’s detention has been extended until May, NBC News reports. The decision was made by the Khimki Court of the Moscow Region, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

“The court granted the petition of the investigation and extended the term of detention of U.S. citizen [Griner] until May 19,” the press service of the court told TASS.

Griner is said to be sharing a cell with two inmates who have also been charged with “drug-related articles,” per Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of Public Monitoring Commission.

UPDATED 3/8, 1:33 p.m. ET: Russian state TV released an image of Brittney Griner after she was arrested. It’s unclear when the photo was taken or where in Russia she’s being held. 

See original story below. 

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner is facing 5 to 10 years in Russian prison after she was allegedly caught with a vape pen filled with cannabis.

The New York Timesreports the Phoenix Mercury star was detained by the Russian Federal Customs Service after they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow. 

USA Basketball confirmed the news in a tweet on Saturday, writing, “USA Basketball is aware of and closely monitoring the legal situation facing Brittney Griner in Russia. Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns.”

In a video obtained by New York Times, Griner is seen going through security when a customs employee removes something from her bag.

Independent Russian news agency Interfax claimed the arrest happened in February, just after Griner had arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport from New York. A drug sniffing dog discovered narcotics in Griner’s luggage, and when the bag was X-rayed, “so-called ‘vapes’” were discovered “with a specific odor.”

Griner was allegedly taken into custody in February and the investigation is still ongoing, officials said, per the NYT.

The news arrives just over a week after Russia launched what was initially described by President Vladimir Putin as a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Read everything you need to know about the Ukraine-Russia situation here.

Latest in Sports