The Khimki Court of the Moscow Region extended the arrest of US Olympic basketball champion Brittney Griner on charges of drug smuggling for another month, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Friday, citing the press service of the court.
"The court granted the petition of the investigation and extended the term of detention of US citizen Griner until June 18," the court said, according to TASS.
The athlete was arrested on suspicion of trying to illegally import hash oil into the Russian Federation through Sheremetyevo Airport, TASS added.
Russia has denied the US State Department's claim that the detention of Griner is “illegal,” saying her arrest was based "on objective facts and evidence."
A statement issued to CNN on Thursday read: "She was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil. In Russia, this is a crime. In accordance with paragraph "c" of part 2 of Article 229.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (drug smuggling), she faces a prison term of up to 10 years.”
According to the statement, Griner was taken into custody on the basis of the decision of the Khimki District Court of Moscow Region on Feb. 18 and is being held in one of the detention facilities.
"The charges are serious, based on objective facts and evidence that is available. Attempts by the State Department to cast doubt on the validity of the detention of B. Griner are explained solely by the desire to influence justice by politicizing a generally understandable situation," the ministry said.
"The final point in this case should be made by the court," the statement added.
Response from the State Department: An official from the US Embassy in Moscow was able to talk with Griner on the sidelines of her hearing in Russia Friday morning, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
Price, who said the department was monitoring the hearing in Moscow “very closely,” said “a consular officer at our embassy in Moscow was able to speak to her on the margins of the hearing.”
“The officer was able to confirm that Brittney Griner is doing as well as can be expected under what can only be described as exceedingly difficult circumstances,” Price said on a briefing call Friday.
More background: Griner, who plays for Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, was arrested by Russian authorities in February at a Moscow airport and accused of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance — an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Griner won the 2014 World Championships in Turkey, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 2018 World Championships in Spain, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with Team USA.
CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Ellie Kaufman contributed reporting to this post.