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American ex-paratrooper Michael Travis Leake arrested, detained in Moscow on drug traffic allegations: report

An American citizen has been arrested in Moscow after being accused of “running a drug dealing business involving young people,” reports say. 

Michael Travis Leake, 51, is identified by Reuters as formerly being a singer in the Russian rock band Lovi Noch. 

“The former paratrooper and a musician, who is accused of running a drug dealing business involving young people, will remain in custody until Aug. 6, 2023,” said a message on the Telegram account for Moscow’s courts of general jurisdiction, according to the news agency. 

“On June 10, 2023, Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court took a measure of restraint against a U.S. citizen,” that account reportedly added. 

RUSSIAN COURT ORDERS WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH HELD 3 MORE MONTHS 

Michael Leake detained in Russia

Michael Leake is seen during an appearance in Russian court in Moscow on Sunday, June 10. (Reuters)

Leake, who has been living in Russia for more than a decade, has been charged with suspicion of drug trafficking and is accused of selling mephedrone, a drug with effects similar to cocaine and MDMA, The Associated Press reported, citing Russian media. 

“When a U.S. citizen is detained overseas, the Department pursues consular access as soon as possible and works to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Reuters, adding, “We will continue to monitor the case closely.” 

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital on Monday morning. 

If found guilty, Leake could face up to 12 years in prison, according to Reuters, citing Russia’s Interfax news agency. 

IRAN SENDING RUSSIA MATERIALS TO BUILD DRONE MANUFACTURING PLANT NEAR MOSCOW 

Evan Gershkovich

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, April 18, 2023.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Leake first came to Moscow to work as an English teacher and helped translate songs for Russian bands, Reuters also reports. 

Leake’s reported detention comes weeks after Russia extended the detention of imprisoned American journalist Evan Gershkovich for another three months. 

Gershkovich, who works in the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow bureau, was detained on March 29 in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia.   

Russia charged Gershkovich with espionage, accusing him of collecting “information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex.” Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal have categorically denied the accusations. 

Paul Whelan

Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine veteran who was arrested for alleged spying, listens to the verdict in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2020. (Sofia Sandurskaya, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

“While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed. The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release,” The Wall Street Journal said in a statement after Gershkovich’s detention was extended. 

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U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan also has been in Russian custody for over four years, convicted on charges of espionage and spying for the U.S. government and sentenced to 16 years in prison. 

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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