WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years on drug charges

A Russian court has found Brittney Griner guilty on drug smuggling and possession charges.

The widely expected verdict comes after a monthlong trial and nearly six months after the basketball star was arrested at a Moscow-area airport with cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.

The judge sentenced Griner to nine years in prison.

Her charges carried up to 10 years, and the Russian prosecution had requested a sentence of nine years and six months in a penal colony.

In a statement released shortly after the verdict, President Biden called Griner's sentence "one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney."

Griner's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, wrote on Twitter that she appreciated the efforts the United States was making to secure the player's release.

"I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here," Griner said.

The Olympian and NBA champion says she must have put the cannabis in her bag by mistake.

In recent years, she has played for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian team owned by oligarch Iskander Makhmudov.