A Russian court found WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty on Thursday on drug smuggling and possession charges and sentenced her to nine years in jail, in a case stemming from cannabis oil that was found in her luggage earlier this year.
The verdict came after closing arguments in Griner’s trial at a court near Moscow. She has been in a Russian jail for almost six months since her arrest at Moscow’s airport in February with two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bags.
Griner, 31, who’d faced a total of 10 years in prison, pleaded guilty to the charges last month in a bid for leniency from the court. In Russia, criminal trials play out in court even if a defendant pleads guilty.
Cannabis is illegal in Russia, but Griner’s attorneys have argued that she has a valid medical prescription and that she didn’t intentionally pack the cartridges.
In its verdict Thursday, the court rejected those arguments and sentenced her to nine years in a Russian penal colony and a fine of 9 million rubles, equal to about $150,000.