U.S. Citizen Arrested in Russia for Drug Trafficking

What Happened:

On January 9, 2024, Robert Romanov Woodland was arrested in Moscow for “attempted illegal acquisition, storage, transportation of narcotic drugs” according to the Russian State-Owned news service, RIA Novosti. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Mr. Woodland would be provided consular access to the United States Embassy in Moscow if requested. 

He was allegedly caught with 4.5 grams of the synthetic narcotic mephedrone, according to Interfax. 

Mr. Woodland holds dual Russian-U.S. citizenship and was born in Russia. He was adopted from a family in the Perm region of Russia, and raised in the United States. He lived in the United States for 27 years before returning to Russia. He currently lives in Moscow.

Picture of the statement released through the associated Telegram

A Reoccurring Development:

A Telegram page associated with the district courts of Moscow released a statement saying that “By a resolution of the Ostankino District Court of Moscow dated January 6, 2024, Woodland Robert Romanov was given a preventive measure in the form of detention for a period of 2 months, that is, until March 5, 2024. He is accused of committing a crime under Part 3 of Art. 30 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (preparation for a crime and attempted crime), paragraph “g”, part 4 of Art. 228.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, production, processing of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues).”

Paul Whelan (L), Alsu Kurmasheva (C), Evan Gershkovich (Credit: Reuters)

This follows a pattern of behavior by the Russian government, where American citizens traveling in the country are detained on charges relating to espionage, voicing anti-Russian sentiments or treasonous activities. WNBA player and American citizen Brittney Griner was also detained for allegedly smuggling drugs into Russia. She was released from Russian custody following a prisoner swap with the United States. 

Mason Meinzinger
Mason Meinzinger
Majoring in International Relations with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies.


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