The Russian authorities accused Griner of carrying hashish oil in her luggage on February 17 at an airport near Moscow. Griner was travelling to Russia to rejoin UMMC Yekaterinburg, the professional team she played for during the W.N.B.A. offseason.
The Russian Federal Customs Service said that a sniffer dog had prompted it to inspect Griner’s carry-on luggage, and that it had uncovered vape cartridges with hashish oil.
Hashish oil is a marijuana concentrate that has a high concentration of the psychoactive ingredient THC, and it is widely offered in cartridges that are used in vape pens.
A week after her imprisonment, Russia was exposed to extensive international sanctions in reaction to its invasion of Ukraine. Griner was viewed as a hostage held by President Vladimir V. Putin's administration.
In May, the State Department stated that Griner was unlawfully held. American officials have regularly accused Moscow of unlawfully holding American citizens.
In August, Griner was found guilty of attempting to smuggle drugs into Russia by a Russian court. She was sentenced to a prison colony for nine years, near the 10-year maximum.
Griner’s appeal of her conviction was denied in October, and in November she was moved to one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies.