Russia Sentences US Citizen Robert Woodland to 12.5 Years for Drug Trafficking


Robert Woodland, a Russia-born US national, was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison by a Moscow court on Thursday for drug trafficking charges. Woodland was apprehended by Russian authorities in early January while attempting to deposit mephedrone at a dead drop—a method used for clandestine transfers without direct contact.

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Prosecutors revealed that Woodland had transported a significant quantity of the narcotic from a pickup point to an apartment in Moscow with intentions to distribute it illegally. This modus operandi is commonly associated with drug trafficking activities on the darknet, where couriers often bear the legal consequences while suppliers remain anonymous.

During a subsequent search of Woodland’s Moscow residence, law enforcement discovered over 46 grams of mephedrone, considered a substantial amount under Russian law.

The court deemed this amount “exceptionally large,” leading to a conviction under laws that prescribe a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison. The prosecution sought a 12-year sentence, but the court imposed 12 and a half years, a decision Woodland’s legal team intends to appeal.

Following his arrest, the US State Department denounced Woodland’s detention as wrongful, citing his American citizenship and promising efforts to secure his release. Besides holding US nationality, Woodland also possesses Russian citizenship, having been born in Russia’s Perm Region in 1991 as Roman Romanov. He was adopted by American parents at a young age and returned to Russia in 2020 in search of his biological roots, eventually meeting his birth mother on a Russian television program.

Woodland’s return to Russia and his personal story garnered media attention, where he shared details alleging that he had been sold by an orphanage to his adoptive parents for a bribe.

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