SPORT: U.S. women’s basketball star Brittney Griner arrested in Russia for drug trafficking.

U.S. bas­ket­ball author­i­ties said an Amer­i­can bas­ket­ball star detained in Moscow on drug traf­fick­ing charges is two-time Olympic cham­pi­on Brit­tney Griner.

The arrest came as ten­sions between Moscow and the West have soared fol­low­ing Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine

Rus­si­a’s Fed­er­al Cus­toms Ser­vice said in a state­ment Sat­ur­day that the per­son had won two Olympic gold medals with the Unit­ed States with­out dis­clos­ing the play­er’s name. It added that an inspec­tion of the hand lug­gage car­ried by a U.S. cit­i­zen who arrived on a flight from New York in Feb­ru­ary “con­firmed the pres­ence of ‘vapes’ (and) a liq­uid with a spe­cif­ic smell.”

He said an expert deter­mined the liq­uid was nar­cot­ic cannabis oil. Cus­toms said the detained woman faces a poten­tial prison sen­tence of five to 10 years.

U.S. bas­ket­ball author­i­ties made it clear that the woman was the star Griner. The 31-year-old is a WNBA cham­pi­on with the Phoenix Mer­cury and a nation­al cham­pi­on at Bay­lor. She is a sev­en-time All-Star.

The news comes as the State Depart­ment issued a “do not trav­el” advi­so­ry for Rus­sia on Sat­ur­day due to its inva­sion of Ukraine and urged all U.S. cit­i­zens to leave imme­di­ate­ly, cit­ing fac­tors such as “the poten­tial for harass­ment against U.S. cit­i­zens by Russ­ian gov­ern­ment secu­ri­ty offi­cials.”” and “the embassy’s lim­it­ed abil­i­ty to assist” Amer­i­cans in Russia.

USA Bas­ket­ball, the sport’s gov­ern­ing body in the U.S., said on Twit­ter that it was “aware of and close­ly mon­i­tor­ing the legal sit­u­a­tion fac­ing Brit­tney Griner in Russia.”

It added: “Brit­tney has always con­duct­ed her­self with the utmost pro­fes­sion­al­ism dur­ing her long tenure with USA Bas­ket­ball and her safe­ty and well-being are our pri­ma­ry concerns.”

The team released a state­ment echo­ing USA Bas­ket­bal­l’s lan­guage and adding, “We love and sup­port Brit­tney, and at this time, our pri­ma­ry con­cern is her safe­ty, her phys­i­cal and men­tal health, and her safe return home.”

At 6‑foot‑9 (2.06 meters), she is the only woman in Amer­i­can col­lege his­to­ry to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.

Many WNBA ath­letes spend the U.S. off­sea­son play­ing in Euro­pean leagues, includ­ing the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian leagues.

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