American Musician Travis Leake Arrested by Russian Officials On Drug Charges

Travis Leake arrested in Russia
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Travis Leake arrested in Russia
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Photo Credit: Nikita Karimov

American musician and manager Travis Leake, who had been living in Russia for over a decade, has been arrested by Russian officials on drug charges.

Michael Travis Leake, an American musician who has lived in Russia for more than a decade, has been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking, Russian news media reported on Saturday. The US State Department confirmed the arrest on Sunday and said US embassy officials attended his arraignment.

Leake was detained on Saturday, where “the Khamvoniki District Court of Moscow took a preventative measure against an American citizen,” according to a statement released by Moscow’s courts of general jurisdiction.

“The former paratrooper and musician is accused of engaging in the narcotics business through attracting young people,” its statement said, adding that he had appeared at the Khamovniki District Court of Moscow on June 10 and will remain in custody until August 6.

Travis Leake is suspected of selling mephedrone, the effects of which are similar to cocaine and MDMA. He faces charges of production or distribution of drugs, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A Moscow court ordered him to be held for two months in pre-trial detention.

“We can confirm that Michael Travis Leake was arrested and is detained in Moscow. Embassy officials attended his arraignment on June 10,” said a spokesperson for the US State Department. “We will continue to monitor the case closely.”

“The US Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” they continued, explaining that when a US citizen is detained overseas, the department “pursues consular access as soon as possible and works to provide all appropriate consular assistance.

Travis Leake is the singer and manager for the band Lovi Noch. Reports indicate he is a former paratrooper with the US military and has lived in Moscow since 2010. Due to privacy considerations, the department said it would have no further comment.