While WNBA all-star center and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner remains in Russian custody for allegedly carrying cannabis vape cartridges in her airport luggage last month near Moscow, her current condition is now known.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed March 23 that an official from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had visited Griner Wednesday morning (Eastern Time) to check on her condition.
“The consular officer who visited with Brittney Griner was able to verify that she is doing as well as can be expected under these very difficult circumstances,” Price said in a press conference. “We’ll continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network to see to it that she is treated fairly and that her rights are respected.”
He added that it’s the State Department’s expectation that Wednesday’s checkup is not a one-off visit.
Griner, 31, who plays basketball overseas during the WNBA offseason, was detained after an airport screening in February near Moscow, but her detention by Russian authorities did not come to light until March 5, after she was identified by Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
She now shares a jail cell with two Russian inmates also accused of drug trafficking in a pretrial detention center near Moscow, where her 6-foot-9 stature is too tall for her top-bunk mattress, The New York Times reported.
Griner, whose pretrial detention was prolonged until at least May, could potentially face up to a 10-year prison sentence that’s associated with criminal cases involving drug transportation in the country, according to the Russian Federal Customs Service.