WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention in a swap for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, U.S. officials have confirmed.
Brittney Griner was arrested in February for bringing in vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport. The Texas native was sentenced to 9-years in prison in August, a sentence that was upheld by a Russian court in October.
The man Griner has been exchanged for, Victor Bout, earned the nickname the “Merchant of Death” for his prolific work in the arms trafficking business. Bout was serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to kill Americans.
Bout’s exploits reportedly inspired the character Yuri Orlov played by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 film “Lord of War.”
President Joe Biden tweeted about the release of Griner on Thursday morning.