(MOSCOW) After pleading guilty to drug possession, WNBA star Brittney Griner was handed a 9 year sentence by a Russian court.
The basketball player from the Phoenix Mercury was caught with vape cartridges containing hashish oil when Russian authorities searched her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport in February.
The substance is legal in the U.S. but is banned in Russia.
Griner pled guilty to having the cartridges but maintained they were packed inadvertently.
The Biden administration decried the sentence in a statement on Thursday and called for her immediate release.
U.S. officials are negotiating a prisoner swap that would free a Russian arms dealer from a U.S. prison in exchange for Griner and American Paul Whelan who was been jailed in Russia since 2020.