By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times
June 17, 2022
MOSCOW — A former US embassy worker has been sentenced to 14 years in a Russian maximum-security prison for after being found guilty of cannabis smuggling and illegal storage of drugs.
Former US embassy worker, Marc Fogel, was found guilty by a Russian (nee Soviet) court in Khimki on Thursday.
Fogel joins a growing list of US citizens being held in Russian prisons as US-Russian relations have soured over the past 2 years.
According to Russian authorities, Fogel was arrested by customs police in August 2021 after arriving from New York at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.
Russian officials claim Fogel had been found in possession of marijuana and hash oil during routine customs check of his luggage. Court documents claim the drugs were hidden inside Fogel’s contact lens case and e-cigarette cartridges.
Fogel insisted the cannabis was prescribed in the US for medicinal purposes after a spinal operation. Russian law prohibits the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Fogel, a former US embassy worker, had been working as a teacher at the Anglo-American School of Moscow at the time of his arrest. According to the US State Department, Fogel’s protection of diplomatic immunity had expired in May 2021.
Currently, the US State Department has issued a “do not travel” advisory for Russia and urged US citizens to depart immediately. It is believed Russia will harass US citizens and block the ability of the US embassy to assist Americans held hostage by Russian authorities.