Russian court sentences American to 14 years in prison for drug offenses

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced a former US embassy employee to 14 years in a maximum-security penal colony for drug trafficking, the Interfax news agency reported.

The agency said Marc Fogel was arrested at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow in August 2021 with drugs. He had formerly worked at the embassy, ​​but at the time of his arrest was employed at the Anglo-American school in the city, he added.

Fogel pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling, storing, transporting, manufacturing and processing narcotics, Interfax said.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Fogel.

In January, CBS News reported that Fogel told lawyers who visited him that he used marijuana for medical reasons after spinal surgery. The amount he possessed when he was detained was 17 grams, or just over half an ounce, Fogel told attorneys, according to CBS.

The sentence was handed down amid growing tensions between Russia and the United States over the war in Ukraine and other issues.

American basketball star Brittney Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 on allegations of having cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage. This week, his pretrial detention was extended until July 2.

Former US Marine Paul Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in Russian prison for espionage in June 2020.

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