Brittney Griner's wife Cherelle Griner is thanking fans for their support as efforts continue to free the WNBA star following her arrest in Russia.
The Russian Federal Customs Service recently announced that last month, its officials detained the American basketball player--who plays on Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA off-season--saying they discovered vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. CNN reported that Russian News Agency Interfax, citing the customs service, said a criminal case has been opened against her.
"Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding my wife's safe return from Russia," Cherelle Griner wrote on Instagram on March 5, hours after news of the Phoenix Mercury center's detainment was made public. "Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated."
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Cherelle Griner, who included a photo of the couple sitting on a patio chair on a beach, continued, "I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely. Thank you!"
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Brittney Griner's agent previously said in a statement to E! News, "We are aware of the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her family, her teams, and the WNBA and NBA. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are not able to comment further on the specifics of her case but can confirm that as we work to get her home, her mental and physical health remain our primary concern."
News of Brittney Griner's arrest and charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and Russia over the latter country's recent invasion of Ukraine.
"We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen arrested in Moscow," a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told CNN. "Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services."