Brittney Griner, a player for the WNBA, was detained after traveling to Russia with cartridges for cannabis oil vape pens. Possession and smuggling of drugs entails a 10-year jail sentence.
Griner was apprehended at a Russian airport and eventually admitted responsibility.
At the center of a proposed swap for Brittney Griner is Viktor Bout, likely the highest profile Russian in U.S. custody. He has been called "one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers," and Russian officials have been pressing for his release since 2011.https://t.co/DIGhteAACI pic.twitter.com/FPeEQdCXZZ— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2022
Joe Biden is offered to give renowned Russian terrorist arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year term in an American jail, in exchange for her freedom.
Bout, the inspiration for Nicholas Cage’s “Lord of War,” was found guilty of conspiring to kill Americans, transport anti-aircraft missiles, and providing support to a terrorist group.
He promised the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a narco-terrorist organization, $20 million in firearms.
Numerous machine guns, sniper rifles, and surface-to-air missiles were among the mind-boggling array of armaments. In addition, he promised five tons of plastic explosives and 10 million rounds of ammunition.
The “Merchant of Death,” Bout, was apprehended by U.S. agents in a sting operation. Informants with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Biden administration has offered to exchange Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout for Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, per @CNN— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 27, 2022
Griner has been detained for 160 days. pic.twitter.com/iGcpT8P07v
Griner would be acquired in the exchange, and a 52-year-old retired American would also be released. Paul Whelan, a Marine, was detained in Russia in 2018 on suspicion of espionage.
Whelan was found guilty and given a 16-year prison term in a Russian jail in June 2020.
In May, the state-run TASS news agency first reported that negotiations to swap Bout for Griner were in progress.
Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, claims that Russian authorities view Bout as a very valuable asset and are likely pressing hard for the swap.
The Biden administration acknowledged on Wednesday that it had put out a significant proposal to assist in the release of Griner and Whelan.