A Russian court has detained a US citizen on drugs charges that could see him jailed for several years.

Moscow’s Khamovnitchesky court said Travis Leake, a “former paratrooper and musician” had “organised the sale of drugs to young people”.

He will be remanded in custody “until August 6, 2023” pending a possible trial. The detention period could be extended, the court said on Telegram.

US broadcaster CNN said Leake was a musician and music producer who has lived in Russia for many years.

Arrests of US citizens in Russia have increased in recent years, against a backdrop of deteriorating relations between Moscow and Washington, which have hit new lows since Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

Washington has accused Moscow of arbitrarily detaining US citizens for use as bargaining chips to secure the release of Russians jailed in the United States.


In March, Russian security services arrested US journalist Evan Gershkovich on accusations of “espionage”, which he denies.

Former US marine Paul Whelan is serving a 16-year jail term in Russia, where he was found guilty of “spying”.

In December, a prisoner swap was arranged between Moscow and Washington for US basketball star Brittney Griner, jailed in Russia on drug charges, and Russia arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was imprisoned in the United States for weapons smuggling.

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