American Musician Arrested in Moscow
Michael Travis Leake, the American musician, is alleged to have been involved in the sale of mephedrone, a substance known for its effects similar to those of cocaine and MDMA, the Associated Press reported.
The American musician’s Instagram profile, listed under the name Travis Leake Instagram, identifies him as the lead singer of the band Lovi Noch (Seize the Night).
News outlets have also revealed that the American musician is a former paratrooper who served in the U.S. military and has resided in Moscow since 2010.
Russia has notoriously strict drug laws, and this incident is not the first involving a high-profile foreigner.
Notably, in February 2022, WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were discovered in her luggage.
She was subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison; however, she was later released in December as part of an exchange deal involving the imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
American Musician Faces Drug Trafficking Charges
Following a ruling by a Moscow court, the American musician has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for a period of two months.
The charges that the American musician faces are related to the production or distribution of illicit drugs, offenses that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
The U.S. State Department has acknowledged the recent reports of an American citizen’s arrest in Moscow.
It emphasized its commitment to pursuing consular access promptly and providing appropriate assistance to detained U.S. citizens overseas including the American musician. However, due to privacy concerns, the department refrained from offering further comments on the matter.