A court in Russia has sentenced former US diplomat Marc Fogel to 14 years in prison for "large-scale" cannabis smuggling. The American citizen has been told he must serve his sentence at a maximum-security penal colony.
Marc Fogel had previously worked at the US embassy in Moscow, however, he was working as an English teacher in the city at the time of his arrest.
The former US diplomat was sentenced in the same jurisdiction that is currently hearing a similar case against United States basketball star Brittney Griner.
Although Cannabis is legal in much of the United States, it remains illegal in Russia.
A court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki said in a statement: "The American citizen Fogel has been found guilty". The news release said that the English teacher had been found guilty of "large-scale drugs smuggling", and "large-scale illegal storage of drugs without a commercial purpose".
Mr Fogel, who is in his 60s, was caught with approximately 17 grams of cannabis in his luggage when he was arrested on 15 August 2021 at Sheremetyevo airport.
Russian law defines a "large amount" of marijuana to be at least 100 grams. Russian authorities have not commented on the amount of cannabis that Mr Fogel had in his possession.
The English teacher told the court that he had been prescribed the drug for medical reasons following spinal surgery and that he was not aware medical marijuana was illegal in Russia.
Mr Fogel pleaded guilty to smuggling, storing, transporting, manufacturing, and processing narcotic drugs.
The American citizen was sentenced to 14 years in prison and has been ordered to serve his sentence at a maximum-security penal colony.