The U.S. has officially classified WNBA star Brittney Griner as being wrongfully detained in Russia.
According to CNN, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA) and Roger Carstens, a State Department official, confirmed Griner is wrongfully detained.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the classification was made "in coordination with the hostage negotiator [Carstens] and the State Department."
She continued, "But typically, and I don’t believe this will change, in order to, to leave the space to have an outcome we all want and desire, which is to bring her and any Americans detained or unjustifiably detained home, we typically don’t talk about it extensively.”
A WNBA spokesperson said the news is a "positive development and a next step to getting her home."
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, also said in a statement, "Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home."
Griner, 31, was detained on Feb. 17 by Russian Federal Customs Service at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow after agents said they discovered hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage, The New York Times reported.
She’s a championship-winning player with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury who plays for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg in the off season.
An investigation by the customs service was allegedly opened into allegations of large-scale-transportation of drugs, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence as punishment.
In late March, a Russian court said Griner’s detention had been extended to May 19.