Brittney Griner Arrives In U.S. After Prisoner Swap With Russia

The WNBA star was taken to a medical facility for a wellness check after landing in Texas.

WNBA star Brittney Griner stepped onto U.S. soil Friday (Dec. 9) after languishing for 10 months behind bars in Russia on a drug conviction.

The New York Times reports that the two-time Olympic gold medalist landed in Texas at the U.S. Army’s Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. She was taken immediately to the Brooke Army Medical Center for an examination and to receive any needed treatment.

“The U.S. government is focused on ensuring that Brittney Griner and her family’s well-being are prioritized and that all assistance available be offered in an appropriate manner,” a statement from the medical facility said, according to The Times.

Brittney Griner Timeline: From Russian Prison To Freedom

U.S. diplomats and their Russian counterparts negotiated a one-for-one prisoner swap for Griner’s release on Thursday (Dec. 8). In exchange, U.S. authorities released Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the so-called “merchant of death,” who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

“This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time,” President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday when Griner walked out of the Russian penal colony where she was held.

“We never stopped pushing for her release. It took painstaking and intense negotiations and I want to thank all the hardworking public servants across my administration who worked tirelessly to secure her release,” the elated president added.

‘Just Sheer Joy:’ Biden Senior Advisor Keisha Lance Bottoms Recalls White House Reaction To Brittney Griner’s Release

Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, plays basketball in Russia during the WNBA off season. Russian authorities detained her in February after her arrest at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow for allegedly carrying hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage.

She pleaded guilty to drug charges on July 7. But she testified that the vape cartridges were in her luggage mistakenly, and she didn’t intend to commit a crime. A Russian court  sentenced Griner in August to nine years in prison.

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