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Michael Travis Leake, U.S. citizen, arrested in Russia on drug expenses

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An American expatriate residing in Russia has been arrested there on drug expenses, in keeping with the U.S. State Division.

Michael Travis Leake was arrested and is detained in Moscow, a State Division spokesperson stated in an e-mail, including that embassy officers attended his arraignment on Saturday. “When a U.S. citizen is detained abroad, the Division pursues consular entry as quickly as attainable and works to supply all applicable consular help,” the spokesperson wrote. “We’ll proceed to observe the case intently.”

Leake is accused of promoting medicine and is ready to stay in custody till Aug. 6, in keeping with a Moscow courtroom report on Telegram. The report recognized him as a musician and former paratrooper.

Leake is a member of the Russian rock band Lovi Noch, in keeping with the band’s posts on social media. A request for remark despatched to an e-mail deal with for Leake listed because the band’s contact on its YouTube web page didn’t instantly obtain a response.

In an episode of the tv present “Anthony Bourdain: Components Unknown” that was filmed and aired in 2014, in keeping with the band, Leake was recognized as an American expat and supervisor of a band referred to as Louna. Within the clip with Bourdain, Leake spoke out about repression of free speech in Russia, alleging that an episode of a separate documentary tv present that includes the band was lower attributable to interference by the Kremlin.

It was not instantly clear whether or not Leake had authorized illustration. His mom, Glenda Garcia, told CNN that she had not heard from the U.S. authorities concerning Leake’s detention and that she was uncertain whether or not he had an legal professional. “I do know he was in a band, I do know he taught English,” she stated. REN TV, a Russian tv community, reported {that a} suspicious substance was discovered at Leake’s condo, in keeping with Reuters.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to frostier relations between Moscow and Washington, with heightened issues over the protection of U.S. residents residing or touring in Russia. The State Division has issued a Stage 4 “Do Not Journey” notice for Russia, citing “the unpredictable penalties of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian navy forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of U.S. residents for detention by Russian authorities safety officers,” and “the arbitrary enforcement of native regulation,” amongst different components.

Leake’s arrest comes as Wall Road Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, stays behind bars in a Moscow pretrial detention heart on espionage expenses that the Journal and the U.S. authorities strongly deny; the State Division has deemed Gershkovich “wrongfully detained.”

A rare look inside the notorious Russian jail holding an American journalist

It additionally comes after Brittney Griner, the American skilled basketball participant, was released from a Russian prison in December. She was detained for practically 10 months and was sentenced to almost a decade in jail on drug expenses for carrying a small quantity of hashish oil within the nation. The State Division stated her detention was “wrongful,” and he or she was launched after the Biden administration negotiated for a prisoner swap, with the USA releasing Russian arms supplier Viktor Bout.

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