Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsRussia Sentences Former US Diplomat To 14 Years For Cannabis Possession

Russia Sentences Former US Diplomat To 14 Years For Cannabis Possession

Marc Fogel pleaded guilty to smuggling, storing, transporting, manufacturing and processing narcotic drugs and was sentenced to serve his prison term at a maximum-security penal colony.

By Maureen Meehan

A Russian court has sentenced a former U.S. diplomat to 14 years in prison for “large-scale” cannabis smuggling.

Marc Fogel had previously worked at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, but was employed as an English teacher at the Anglo-American School in Moscow at the time of his arrest in August 2021.

Russia
Photo by Michael Parulava via Unsplash

RELATED: Russian War Might Be Push Ukraine Needs To Legalize Marijuana

“The American citizen Fogel has been found guilty,” a court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki announced¬†in a statement.¬†A news release said Fogel committed “large-scale drugs smuggling,¬†large-scale illegal storage of drugs without a commercial purpose.”

Fogel was sentenced in the same jurisdiction that is hearing the case against WNBA superstar Brittney Griner whose pre-trial detention was recently extended. Griner was detained in February entering Russia for allegedly having vape cartridges with hash oil in her luggage.

From Diplomat To English Teacher To Penal Colony

As part of the investigation, Russian police released footage of searches conducted by investigators at the now closed school in Moscow.

The U.S. Embassy did not elaborate¬†on Fogel’s case¬†or on his diplomatic status, which he may have held, in that he was a staff member at the school when he was arrested. The school was previously run by the U.S.¬†embassy.

Fogel, who is in his 60s, argued that a doctor recommended cannabis to him for treating pain after spinal surgery and that he was not aware that medical marijuana was illegal in Russia.

“He insists that it was medical¬†marijuana¬†and claims that a doctor prescribed it to him in the United States, which is allegedly confirmed by an entry in the medical record,”¬†Alexander Khurudzhi, a member of a Moscow human rights committee, reported CBS News.

RELATED: Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In Russia

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Fogel pleaded guilty to smuggling, storing, transporting, manufacturing and processing narcotic drugs and was sentenced to serve his prison term at a maximum-security penal colony.

In addition to Griner, several Americans are detained in Russian prisons, and vice versa.

In April, the United States exchanged former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison for violence, for a Russian pilot who had been in a U.S. jail since 2010.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

MUST READ

MORE BY THIS AUTHOR

Don't Miss Your Weekly Dose of The Fresh Toast.

Stay informed with exclusive news briefs delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe anytime.