The New York TimesThe New York Times

What We Know About Brittney Griner's Detention in Russia

By Tania Ganguli, Jonathan Abrams and Emma Bubola

07 Jul 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

A U.S. women's basketball star is facing up to 10 years in a Russian penal colony for allegedly possessing hashish oil. The NYT explains the player’s extraordinary saga.

After nearly five months in Russian custody, WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges Thursday. She faces up to 10 years in a penal colony if she is convicted formally and sentenced. Her next court date is July 14.

Griner, 31, who has played for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury since 2013, was detained Feb. 17 after Russian authorities accused her of having hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. Griner had been in Russia to compete for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a professional women’s basketball team.

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