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American musician detained in Russia

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Michael Travis Leake from the russian band Lovinoch is suspected of selling mephedrone, a drug with effects similar to cocaine and MDMA, CNN and the Associated Press reported, citing Russian media.

Leake faces charges of drug distribution or production, which carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A Moscow court ordered him to remain in pretrial detention for two months, according to reports.

Leake, a former US Army paratrooper who has lived in Moscow since 2010, appeared in a 2014 episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown.” In the episode, he half-joked that the KGB was listening in on his conversation and following Bourdain.

The US State Department confirmed Leake’s detention in a statement.

Leake is the latest American to be detained by Russian officials since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

In another drug-related case, WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested the month of the raid after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage at a Moscow airport. A Russian court sentenced her to nine years in prison, but she was released in December in exchange for US-jailed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

And in March, Russian officials detained Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich on charges of espionage, which he denies. On May 23, a Russian court extended his arrest for three months.

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