American women's basketball player Brittney Griner received a nine-year prison term after being found guilty of knowingly importing narcotics into Russia.

The Khimki City Court's Judge Anna Sotnikova handed down the ruling and fined Griner 1 million rubles, or roughly $16,400

She said that the court considered Griner's partial acknowledgment of guilt, regret for the act, state of health, and philanthropic endeavours

She should have received a 9.5-year prison term, according to the prosecution.

In an emotional speech before the verdict, Griner expressed regret to the jury and begged for mercy.

"I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here," Griner said. 

The 31-year-old was caught at a Moscow airport and charged by Russian prosecutors with attempting to smuggle less than 1 gramme of cannabis oil in her luggage. 

The two-time US Olympic gold champion in basketball entered a plea of guilty to drug charges last month and said that while rushing, she unintentionally packed the substances.

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