Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty in Russia — What Will Happen Next?

Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty in Russia -- What Will Happen Next?

Look Who Just Pled “Guilty” In Court

( – An American basketball player held in Russia on drug charges has pleaded guilty to smuggling into the country. Brittney Griner, who has been held since February, faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison unless the State Department can arrange a prisoner swap. But, with US-Russian relations at their worst since the Cold War, that might not be easy.

Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on February 17, when customs officers found hash oil vaporizer cartridges in her baggage, which are illegal in Russia. Now Griner has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling the drug into the country, but added she had “no intent” to break Russian law. Griner’s lawyers say she has decided to “take full responsibility” for her actions.

Under Russian law, the maximum penalty for smuggling marijuana is 10 years in prison or a labor camp, and after her guilty plea, Griner now has little chance of avoiding at least some jail time. Her only hope is for the State Department, which has always insisted she was wrongfully imprisoned, to arrange a prisoner swap. One potential candidate is arms dealer Viktor Bout, who’s currently serving 25 years in Marion Federal Penitentiary for conspiracy to kill and supplying weapons to a terrorist organization. The problem is, compared to Bout, Griner is small-time. Russia would like to have Bout back, but they might have to offer the US a bigger prize than Griner.

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