Russia Detains American Musician Travis Michael Leake on Drug Charges

Last week, police in Moscow, Russia, arrested American musician Travis Michael Leake on charges of running a drug trafficking ring “involving young people.”

Russian state media announced Arrested on Saturday, Leek said he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Russian state media posted a video showing Mr. Reek and his friend Valeria Grobanyuk being detained during a drug investigation. In the video, Leake expressed his confusion as to the reason for his arrest.

“I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t admit my guilt, I don’t know what I’m being accused of, so I don’t think I could have done what I’m being accused of,” he told Moscow police.

Russian reports say Leek is suspected of selling mephedrone, a drug with effects similar to cocaine and MDMA.Moscow court ordered He will be in pretrial detention for at least two months.

Leek is a musician and rock band manager who has written and performed backing vocals for several Russian punk rock bands.his social media profile To tell For the last five years he has been the lead vocalist of the Moscow-based group Lovi Noch (“Seize the Night”).

In 2014, the leak was Appeared Appeared in an episode of Parts Unknown, a quirky travelogue and food show hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain. The episode featured conversations with several critics of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly authoritarian regime, including former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated a year after the episode aired.

Leaks, who were reportedly “handpicked” by Bourdain to appear in the episode, spoke of the difficulties of creating art and music under Putin’s corrupt and paranoid government. He complained about the Russian government’s ability to control and censor foreign media production, saying it was already a “grand scandal” a decade ago.

“Travis was a showman. He was very talkative and loved Russia. says former “Parts Unknown” producer Darya Tarasova. Said CNN on Sunday.

Tarasova continued:

The last time we spoke was in 2018, and he seemed depressed and upset, but Travis will never do what he’s been accused of. He’s an American living in Russia and he knows his situation well. But I was surprised that he remained in Russia when the war started, because it was very dangerous for him.

A Facebook post written by Mr. Leek after Russia invaded Ukraine was rather cautious.England Guardian Quote He wrote several posts to relatives who were worried about him staying in Russia, who had lived there for about ten years.

“I am a guest in Russia and as such I have always believed that I have no right to express a political opinion, whether for or against the subject matter in question,” he said in a Facebook post. wrote in

In another photo, he posted a picture of himself holding a piece of paper that said “proof of life.” Do not panic and carry on. ”

Russian media claimed that Leek was a “former U.S. paratrooper,” but international media were unable to report. confirmation No military service from him as of Monday morning.

The US State Department issued a brief email about Mr. Leake’s arrest. Says U.S. embassy officials were able to attend his arraignment on Saturday, they said.

“If a U.S. national is detained abroad, the Department will seek consular access as soon as possible and strive to provide all appropriate consular assistance. We will continue to monitor this incident closely,” the statement said. .

Leake’s mother, Glenda Garcia, told CNN on Sunday that she had not been contacted by the Joe Biden administration.

“I haven’t heard anything from the State Department.

Leek’s detention comes on the heels of widely condemned Russian march arrest of wall street journal Reporter Evan Gershkovic accused of spying.

Many reports of Leake’s arrest paralleled the case of WNBA player Britney Griner, who was detained in February 2022 and released the following December in an absurdly biased prison swap by the Biden administration. personally delivered Viktor Bout, one of the world’s most dangerous arms dealers.

America imposed In April 2023, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) intelligence agency will be sanctioned for taking Americans such as Mr. Gerszkovic and Mr. Griner as “hostages.”

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