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Newsline: Russia jails former US embassy worker for smuggling drugs

A Moscow court has sentenced a former US embassy employee to 14 years in prison in a maximum security facility for “large-scale” cannabis smuggling and illegal storage of drugs without a commercial purpose. “The American citizen [Marc] Fogel has been found guilty,” the Khimki court said in a statement late on Thursday. Fogel is the latest American to be caught up in Russia’s legal system. The sentence comes as relations between Moscow and the West, particularly Washington, are tense after Moscow invaded Ukraine. Russian authorities in January said Fogel had been arrested by customs officers in August 2021 after arriving from New York with his wife at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. “During customs checks, the marijuana and hash oil were found in his luggage,” officials said, adding that the drugs were hidden in contact lens cases and e-cigarette cartridges. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/russia-jails-former-us-embassy-worker-for-smuggling-drugs/) At the time of his arrest, Fogel was working as a teacher in the Anglo-American School of Moscow but benefitted from diplomatic immunity until May 2021 due to his previous employment at the US embassy. He insisted the cannabis was for medical purposes and that it was prescribed in the United States after a spinal operation. Russia has not made the use of cannabis legal for medicinal purposes. Several Americans are currently detained in Russian prisons, and vice versa.

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