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US citizen arrested in Russia

Handcuffs. (Andrei Calangiu/Dreamstime/TNS)
January 20, 2024

A United States citizen was arrested in Moscow last Tuesday in connection with drug charges that could lead to a 20-year prison sentence.

Reuters reported that Moscow’s Ostankino District Court announced that 32-year-old Robert Romanov Woodland was arrested on January 6 and will remain in custody until March 5. Moscow’s Ostankino District Court noted that the U.S. citizen was charged with the illegal acquisition and possession of drugs.

According to Mash, a Russian news outlet, prosecutors denied a request by Woodland’s lawyers to have the 32-year-old transferred to house arrest. The news outlet also reported that Woodland has been accused of allegedly being involved in a major illegal drug operation.

Woodland was born in Perm, Russia, according to The Hill. After Woodland was placed in an orphanage, he was adopted by U.S. citizens and was raised in America.

Woodland later returned to Russia in order to locate his birth mother and was ultimately reunited with his birth mother on Russian television. According to The Hill, Woodland worked as an English teacher near Moscow.

READ MORE: Russia expels U.S. diplomats

The arrest of a U.S. citizen in Moscow comes as the United States State Department has issued warnings to Americans currently residing in Russia as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has caused heightened tension between the U.S. and Russia. The State Department’s website warns, “U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.”

In a statement obtained by The Hill, the State Department addressed the situation in Russia after Woodland’s arrest, saying, “The U.S. Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.” The State Department added, “Whenever a U.S. citizen is detained overseas, our embassies and consulates stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”