PHOENIX — U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner will remain in Russian custody through at least July 2 after her detention was extended for a third time, Russian state-run media has reported.
The report gave no timeline for Griner’s trial but cited a top Russian diplomat as saying that she will not be considered for detainee swaps until her case has been investigated.
The 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury center was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling after Russian airport authorities claimed in February to have found cannabis products in her luggage.
Her supporters have expressed concern that Moscow will use her as a bargaining chip amid tensions over its war in Ukraine.
Griner’s coach and teammates met with officials with the U.S. State Department on Monday and urged them to bring her home.
"We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives," Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said. "We want BG to come home as soon as possible, it’s number one on our list"
Representatives from Arizona are working on a bipartisan deal to secure Griner’s release along with another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan.
But officials offered few details of that potential deal.
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The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes.
The Cardinals have made the State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers also play at the Footprint. Phoenix has a soccer team with the USL's Phoenix Rising FC.
The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football's Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training.