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.
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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.