Brittney Griner Gets Prisoner Swapped With Russian Arms Dealer


Kaya Campbell, Writer

The now-famous WNBA basketball player, Brittney Griner, has finally been released from Russian custody after 294 days. Griner was born on October 18, 1990 in Houston, Texas. With her large family of 6, Brittney Griner made sure she was one of the well known ones, by becoming a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a six-time WNBA All-star. 


Why did she get arrested?


When traveling to Russia to play in a Russian Premier League, things went terribly wrong for Griner. She was detained and charged for smuggling hashish oil through airport security in Russian grounds, resulting in her arrest on February 17, 2022. After realizing the law, she pleaded guilty, accepting all charges and was sentenced to 9 years in Russian prison. But before the end of 2022, Joe Biden took action and arranged a prisoner exchange with Russia. The negotiation period took a while, with Russia wanting a dangerous man named Viktor Bout.


Who is Viktor Bout?


Viktor Bout is a Russian arms dealer, with the nickname “The Merchant of Death”. In 2008, he was found guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. citizens, delivering anti-aircraft missiles, and aiding a terrorist organization, but was later sentenced to 25 years in prison back in April 2012. Viktor Bout was born on January 13, 1967 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. His early life is very vague, but the years between 1990-2010 show evidence of Bout’s work. Viktor Bout has been spotted in numerous countries across the globe such as Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda, Russia, Belgium, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. Viktor Bout’s strategy of evading government authorities, frequently re-registering aircraft, and owning multiple companies, made it difficult for officials to build a case against him. 


How Government Officials finally found and arrested Viktor Bout

In 2008 an undercover US DEA paid informer claimed to represent the Colombian Rebel Group, and was able to negotiate with Viktor Bout for the supply of 100 surface-to-air missiles. They planned on meeting at certain landing spots in Colombia, where Viktor Bout was later arrested and charged for his multiple international crimes.