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Pretrial Detention Extended For U.S. Women's Basketball Star Held In Russia

Brittney Griner, 31, could face a 10-year jail sentence on possible charges over traces of cannabis or hashish oil in a vape device allegedly uncovered in a search of her luggage at Sheremetyevo Airport.

Brittney Griner, 31, could face a 10-year jail sentence on possible charges over traces of cannabis or hashish oil in a vape device allegedly uncovered in a search of her luggage at Sheremetyevo Airport.

The pretrial detention of American basketball star Brittney Griner has been extended to July 2 at the request of Russian investigators, the TASS news agency reported on June 14.

It is the latest extension of Griner’s detention following her arrest in February at an airport near Moscow as she traveled back to the United States for the start of training camp with her Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, the Phoenix Mercury. She was in Russia to play for the UMMC Yekaterinburg during the offseason.

Griner, 31, could face a 10-year jail sentence on possible charges over traces of cannabis or hashish oil in a vape device allegedly uncovered in a search of her luggage at Sheremetyevo Airport.

U.S. officials have classified her arrest as "wrongful detainment." As such, it is being overseen by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens.

The U.S. State Department became aware of the latest extension of Griner’s pretrial detention through media reports, department spokesman Ned Price said on June 14. Speaking at a briefing, Price again called for her release.

Officials from Carstens' office met on June 13 with members of the Phoenix Mercury along with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat-Texas) and Representative Greg Stanton (Democrat-Arizona).

"We are on day 116 since [Griner] has been wrongfully detained," Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard said after the meeting. "It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring [Griner] home. She's our teammate, she's an American and we want her back home."

Griner, who played on two Olympic gold medal teams, has played for the Mercury since 2013 and for the Russian team for six seasons.

Based on reporting by Reuters

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