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Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap for ‘Death Merchant’ on Table, Russian Media Says


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Brittney Griner was seen in a Russian courtroom on Friday and her pretrial detention has been extended for a month.

Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport for allegedly transporting vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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However, a trade could be on the table. The Russian agency TASS reported, citing a source, that talks are underway in the framework of an exchange of prisoners – Griner for the famous arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Bout is in the middle of a 25-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in connection with supporting a Colombian terrorist organization.

Viktor Bout is escorted by police as he arrives for a hearing at the criminal court in Bangkok August 20, 2010.
(Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

He has been dubbed the “Merchant of Death” due to his notoriety for leading a fleet of aging Soviet-era cargo planes to conflict-ridden hotspots in Africa. His relationships inspired Nicolas Cage’s film “Lord of War.”

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the prisoner exchange report.

WNBA STAR BRITTNEY GRINER SEEN FOR FIRST TIME SINCE RUSSIAN ARREST, EXTENDED DETENTION

Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap for ‘Death Merchant’ on Table, Russian Media Says

Viktor Bout walks past temporary cells before a hearing at Bangkok Criminal Court August 20, 2010.
(Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Biden administration’s potential decision to trade this heinous Russian criminal, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States for his involvement in the murder of Americans, is a huge mistake,” said the former agent. intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler at Fox News Digital. “This move will only encourage Russian intelligence to seize Americans on Russian soil, so they can be swapped for much more valuable assets for Putin.”

Griner was seen in the courtroom in handcuffs and wearing an orange hoodie with her hood over her head.

Alexander Boikov told The Associated Press he believed the short extension would mean his trial would take place soon.

The US State Department has determined that Russia “wrongfully detained” the Mercury Center during its February arrest, an official said in a statement to Fox News Digital earlier this month.

Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap for ‘Death Merchant’ on Table, Russian Media Says

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“The well-being and safety of American citizens abroad are among the highest priorities of the U.S. government,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The State Department has determined that the Russian Federation wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner.

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“With this determination, the President’s Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens, will lead the interagency team tasked with securing the release of Brittney Griner.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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