WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A Texas native and former Marine is free after Russia and the United States carried out a prisoner exchange on Wednesday. Trevor Reed, who had been jailed in Moscow, was traded for a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a prison sentence in America.
The surprise deal would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in times of peace, but it was all the.
As part of the exchange, Russia released Reed, who was arrested in the summer of 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer while being driven by police to a police station following a night of heavy drinking.and the U.S. government has described him as unjustly detained.
After news of his release, Joey, Paula, and Taylor Reed sent a statement that said, in part –
“Trevor has been wrongfully detained for a “crime” the U.S. Ambassador to Russia has said “obviously did not occur” and our family has been living a nightmare. Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States.”
The U.S. agreed to return Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. after he was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the U.S.
Russia had sought his return for years while also rejecting entreaties by high-level U.S. officials to release Reed, who was nearing his 1,000th day in custody and whose health had recently been worsening, according to his family.
The two prisoners were swapped in a European country. Though officials would not say where the transfer took place, in the hours before it happened commercial flight trackers identified a plane belonging to Russia’s federal security service as flying to Ankara, Turkey. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons also updated its website overnight to reflect that Yaroshenko was no longer in custody.
The White House released a statement that said, in part –
“Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”
The prisoner swap marks the highest-profile release during the Biden administration of an American deemed wrongly detained abroad and comes even as families of detainees who have met over the last year with administration officials had described them as cool to the idea of an exchange.
In their statement, the Reed family also thanked President Joe Biden “for making the decision to bring Trevor home” as well as other administration officials and Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whom the family said traveled to Moscow in the hours before the Ukraine war began in hopes of securing Reed’s release.
Reed was one of several Americans known to be held by Russia,who was detained in February after authorities said a search of her bag revealed a cannabis derivative, and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, who is being held on espionage-related charges his family says are bogus. It was unclear what if any impact Wednesday’s action might have on their cases.
in March. They had stood weeks earlier along his motorcade route during a presidential visit to Texas in hopes of attracting his attention, then later demonstrated outside the White House to ask for a meeting.
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