Support The Moscow Times!

Court Returns Case of Detained American Teacher to Prosecutors

Man bought detergent containing banned substance online.

Family archive

A court in Moscow has returned to the prosecutors a case against American national Gaylen Grandstaff who faces 20 years in Russian prison for ordering a cleaning product containing a chemical banned in Russia.

The judge in the case has decided to release Grandstaff from the pre-detention facility before the second hearing.

“The court returned the criminal case to the prosecutor’s office,” court spokesman Georgy Yengibarov told the online Moscow news agency.

Grandstaff, who has been working in Russia as an English teacher since 2011, was arrested in 2017 after ordering cleaning products containing the banned substance gamma butyrolactone. He said he ordered the products through the China-based AliExpress online store and did not know the detergent contained the substance.

Prosecutors charged him with large-scale smuggling of psychotropic drugs. Grandstaff has been in a pre-detention cell since July 2017.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.