NY woman fined for bringing marijuana into Russia, court says

She has been released from jail

By Ray Sanchez, CNN
From Instagram via CNN

Audrey Lorber

(CNN) - A New York woman arrested in Russia on suspicion of possessing marijuana she claimed was medicinal has been released, a Russian court said in a statement.

Audrey Eliza Lorber was arrested on charges of transporting cannabis into Russia from the United States, after marijuana weighing about 19 grams was found during a search of her possessions at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport, courts press service representative Darya Lebedeva said last week.

Nineteen grams is about two-thirds of an ounce.

Lorber was convicted under the criminal code of the Russian Federation and fined 15,000 rubles, or about $235, according to a statement from the Moscow District Court of St. Petersburg.

"Given the period she spent in detention, Lorber was released from serving any sentence, as well as from custody," the statement said.

Lorber had a US permit to use marijuana as part of a medical program, but the permit doesn't apply in Russia, Lebedeva said.

It wasn't immediately clear when the arrest happened, or what medical condition Lorber has.

US Rep. Max Rose, who represents Staten Island, where Lorber lives, tweeted after the arrest that he was trying to help Lorber come home.

"No American citizen should be held in jail for a medical condition," the statement said.

The US State Department said at the time that it was aware a US citizen was arrested in St. Petersburg.

"We take seriously our responsibility to assist US citizens abroad. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment," an official said in a statement to CNN.

After the arrest, Lorber's mother declined to comment and asked for privacy.

Lorber is a third-year film and screen studies major at the honors college of Pace University, according to a spokesperson at the university. A resume on LinkedIn says she is a screenwriter, YouTube personality and film editor.

Lorber has been a server at Waterside restaurant on Staten Island for a couple of years.

"She's a great kid, hard worker," said manager Joseph Guli. "All the customers love her. She never missed work... Friendly, always smiled, had a career ahead of her -- still does, hopefully."

CNN's Jennifer Hansler, Sarya Tarasova and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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