Darius Amiri, Rose Law immigration department chair, talks to 12 News about Brittney Griner

By Michael Doudna | 12 News NBC

PHOENIX — Former Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner reportedly plead guilty to drug charges on Thursday and could face up to 10 years in custody.

Griner was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters with cannabis oil allegedly were found in her luggage.

“She drew to the attention of the court that she had committed this act through negligence, unintentionally, ” Maria Blagovolina, Griner’s lawyer, told NBC this week.

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Darius Amiri, chair of the Rose Law Group’s immigration department, said the Russian court system heavily favors the prosecution.

“I think the guilty plea is a strategy to get her home faster,” Amiri said.

“I don’t believe this case will be treated like a normal case,” Amiri added.

Amiri said the current international relationships between Russia and the United States may be a major factor. A person guilty of a crime may make it easier to involve Griner in a prisoner exchange.

“It’s a chip that’s being used to gain leverage in a bigger picture element,” Amiri said.

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