Russia accuses American instructor of being “massive scale” drug smuggler virtually half a 12 months after detaining him

A screengrab from video launched by Russia’s Inside Ministry exhibits U.S. nationwide Marc Fogel sitting in a safety screening space at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, the place he was detained in August 2021 after marijuana was allegedly present in his baggage.

Russian Inside Ministry/Handout

Moscow — Russian authorities have, for the primary time, shared particulars of a felony case towards an American man who’s been jailed since his detention in Moscow final summer season. Russia‘s Inside Ministry mentioned on Thursday that Marc Fogel, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in August 2021, was accused of trying to smuggle marijuana into the nation in his baggage. 

The ministry mentioned in an announcement that “Fogel turned out to be a instructor on the Anglo-American faculty, and was beforehand an worker of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow,” including that he and his spouse held diplomatic standing till Might 2021.

“The medicine had been rigorously disguised: marijuana was packaged involved lens case, and hashish oil was contained in e-cigarette cartridges. All of it was wrapped in plastic and hidden in his sneakers,” the assertion says.

Fogel is charged with smuggling and possession of “narcotic substances on a big scale” — a severe cost for which he may withstand 20 years in jail if convicted.

Authorities investigators petitioned the court docket to arrest the American, arguing that he may try to hunt refuge on the territory of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Additionally they alleged that Fogel may have used his diplomatic standing to prepare a drug smuggling route into the nation “for the aim of subsequent sale among the many college students of the aforementioned faculty.”

Fogel instructed a gaggle of human rights legal professionals who visited him in December that he used marijuana for medical causes after present process surgical procedure on his backbone.

“He insists that it was medical marijuana and claims that a health care provider prescribed it to him in america, which is allegedly confirmed by an entry within the medical file,” Alexander Khurudzhi, a member of a Moscow human rights committee, instructed Russia’s Interfax information company on the time. 

“He claims he was unaware of Russia’s ban on medical marijuana,” Khurudhzi mentioned.

Fogel instructed the legal professionals in December that he introduced round 17 grams, or simply over half an oz., of marijuana with him to Russia.

The Inside Ministry has not specified the quantity that Fogel is accused of carrying, however Russian regulation defines a “great amount” of marijuana to be 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) or extra. Something between 6-100 grams is classed as a “vital quantity,” the possession of which carries a a lot shorter jail sentence and, in some instances, the punishment is lowered to a high quality.

“We take significantly our accountability to help U.S. residents overseas and are monitoring the scenario. On account of privateness issues, now we have no additional remark at the moment,” U.S. Embassy spokesperson Jason Rebholz mentioned on Thursday, based on Interfax.

The embassy didn’t elaborate on Fogel’s case, or on his diplomatic standing, which he might have held as a member of workers on the faculty that was beforehand run by the U.S. Embassy.  

No U.S. concessions to Russian calls for


It was not clear why the Inside Ministry launched particulars of Fogel’s case this week, however he is amongst a handful of U.S. residents being held on numerous costs in Russia as the 2 international locations face off over troop buildups on Ukraine’s borders.

American officers have accused Moscow of holding two former U.S. Marines as bargaining chips to make use of in a possible prisoner swap: Trevor Reed, who was charged with attacking cops, and Paul Whelan, who’s jailed after being convicted on espionage costs.

Moscow publicly denies any discussions with the U.S. a few theoretical prisoner exchanger, but it surely has lengthy sought the discharge of Viktor Bout, a infamous arms supplier nicknamed the “Service provider of Dying,” and Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot convicted of smuggling cocaine into the U.S. 

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