US Citizen Travis Leake, Rock Band Manager, Detained In Moscow On Drug Charges
The US State Department has confirmed the arrest of US citizen Travis Leake, rock band manager, detained in Moscow on drug charges, leading to growing concerns about his safety and well-being.
Leake was apprehended on Saturday, and the Khamovniki District Court of Moscow issued a statement on the popular social media app Telegram, revealing that an American citizen had been detained in connection with drug-related activities. The court identified the individual as "Travis Michael Leek" and alleged his involvement in the narcotics business, particularly targeting young individuals.
During a hearing on June 10, Leake appeared before the Khamovniki District Court, where a preventive measure was taken, resulting in his continued detention until August 6, 2023.
The US State Department, in response to the incident, officially confirmed Leake's detention and disclosed that embassy officials attended his arraignment on June 10. The Department assured that they would closely monitor the case, prioritizing the safety and security of US citizens overseas. Consular access and appropriate assistance are being pursued for Leake's situation.
Leake's mother, Glenda Garcia, expressed her growing worries about her son's well-being and the lack of communication from US government officials. Garcia emphasized her concerns.
Of course, I am worried. Of course, I am concerned. He's in prison in a foreign country; that is a concern.- Glenda Garcia, Travis Leake's Mother
Having not heard from the State Department, she plans to contact them if no updates are received soon. Garcia last spoke to her son on Mother's Day, and the absence of information adds to her distress.
The arrest of Travis Leake comes at a time of strained relations between the United States and Russiadue to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. It follows the arrest of US journalist Evan Gershkovich in March, who was accused of espionage but maintains his innocence. The timing of Leake's detention raises questions about the potential impact of geopolitical tensions on his case and the treatment of US citizens in Russia.
American arrested in Russia on drug trafficking charges
In a video of Leake's arrest at his residence and a subsequent mug shot taken at a Russian police station, he can be heard expressing confusion and denying any wrongdoing.
Ren TV, a tabloid outlet, reported his statement to the police, where he questioned the reason for his arrest.
I don't understand why I'm here. I don't admit guilt, I don't believe I could have done what I'm accused of because I don't know what I'm accused of.- Travis Leake
Travis Leake gained some public recognition when he appeared in a 2014 episode of CNN's Parts Unknown, which explored various aspects of Russian society and culture. The episode, filmed in Moscow and St. Petersburg, featured Leake as a guest selected by host Anthony Bourdain.
In the program, Leake shared his frustrations with censorship and recounted an incident involving his band and MTV, highlighting foreign governments' control over content accessible to American viewers.
Leake's involvement in the musicscene extended beyond his band, Lovi Noch ("Catch the Night"), as he also worked as a music producer for other Russian music groups during his time in Moscow.
Darya Tarasova, the producer of the Parts Unknown episode, spoke highly of Leake, praising his articulateness and love for Russia. Tarasova recalled his vocal stance on issues such as freedom of speech and state oppression in Russia. However, she expressed surprise that Leake chose to stay in Russia despite the increased risks posed by the ongoing conflict.
Tarasova firmly believed in Leake's innocence, stating:
Travis Leake's arrest has raised concerns not only for his personal well-being but also for the broader implications on US-Russian relations. As the case unfolds, attention will remain focused on the nature of the charges, the legal proceedings, and the support provided to Leake by the US government.