Russian authorities say a US teacher has been arrested in Moscow for “large-scale” drug smuggling after marijuana products were found at his airport.
Marc Fogel, a former employee of the US embassy in Moscow, went through customs in August last year when trained dogs responded to his luggage, the Russian Interior Ministry said on Thursday, adding that he had been arrested for prevents him from hiding in the embassy.
It was not clear why the announcement was made months after the arrest.
“As the suspect in the embassy investigation was able to hide, the Khimki city court chose a degree of restraint in the form of detention,” it said.
“Marijuana and hash oil were found in the foreigner’s luggage. The drugs were carefully disguised, “it said in a statement.
Marijuana was hidden in contact lens holders, while marijuana oil was found in e-cigarette cartridges, the statement said.
Fogel and his wife enjoyed diplomatic immunity until May last year, the Russian Interior Ministry said.
At the time of his arrest, he had started teaching at the Anglo-American School in Moscow, the statement said.
Fogel was charged with “large-scale smuggling and possession of drugs,” the statement said.
The US Embassy said in a statement to AFP: “We take our responsibility seriously to assist US citizens abroad, and monitor the situation.”
The mission declined to comment further, citing privacy considerations.
Several Americans are currently being held in Russian prisons.
The most prominent American citizen in Russian detention is Paul Whelana former security officer at an auto parts company who was arrested in 2018 on a charge of espionage.
Trevor Reed is a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in 2019 for a drunken brawl in which he is accused of punching two Russian police officers.
Russian authorities have offered to exchange U.S. prisoners for Russians detained in U.S. prisons, including contract pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who was convicted in 2011 of smuggling drugs to the U.S.
Tensions between Russia and the US is on the rise, with Washington accusing Moscow of plotting to invade Ukraine and the Kremlin demanding that NATO halt its eastern expansion.