US citizen sentenced to 12 years in Russian prison

Robert Woodland, a U.S. citizen, has been sentenced to prison in Russia after being convicted on drug charges, multiple outlets have reported.

Woodland was sentenced Thursday by a Russian court to 12 1/2 years at a maximum security penal colony, according to the reports.

The 32-year-old was detained in Moscow in January and accused of attempting to sell a large quantity of methadone. Reuters reported Woodland’s lawyer, Stanislav Kshevitsky, told the outlet Woodland partially confessed to the charges, though it’s unclear which charges.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs.

Woodland was born in Russia and adopted at the age of 2. He had returned to the country to find his birth mother and his journey was documented by a Russian reality TV program, according to the BBC.

He had been caught after trying to package a large number of narcotics at an apartment in Moscow, according to a statement by Russian prosecutors released after his conviction, which the BBC cited. The prosecutors claimed that Woodland worked with a large-scale criminal group and transported 50 grams of the drug from a pickup point.

At least a dozen U.S. citizens, including journalists and active duty military personnel, are being held in Russian prisons and penal colonies.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich remains detained in Russia, and WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner was released at the end of 2022.

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