New York Daily News: By Jessica Schladebeck – WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed from a Russian penal colony on Thursday in a high-profile prisoner exchange that also allowed for the release of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after customs officials said they uncovered vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She was accused of intentionally smuggling drugs into the country, where marijuana use is illegal for both medicinal and recreational purposes.
The 32-year-old Phoenix Mercury player pleaded guilty in July to marijuana possession while maintaining she did not mean to break the law. A month later, she was sentenced to more than nine years in a Russian penal colony.
President Joe Biden signed off on the trade, which took place in the United Arab Emirates Thursday, marking one of the most prominent prisoner swaps between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.
“She is safe,” Biden tweeted. “She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”
With News Wire Services
Top Feature Photo: WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, on Aug 4, 2022 – Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP