June 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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German Goes to Russia for Tinder Date: Arrested for THC


ArrestTHC gummy bears are the downfall of German romance tourists

Westerners are repeatedly arrested in Russia due to strict laws. A German tourist who went to Russia for love also had to experience this.

Reto Polman
  • A man from Hamburg is in prison in Russia with cannabis gummy bears.

  • Prisoners have already been used as political bargaining chips by Russia in the past.

  • An example of this is American basketball player Brittney Griner.

Patrick Schöbel, 38, from Hamburg, was arrested on January 16 at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. Reason: Customs officers found six gummy bears containing cannabis in his luggage. A quick test detects tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in cannabis. Although Shobal claimed they were harmless wine gums, he is now accused of drug smuggling in Russia. He faces up to seven years in prison, “Spiegel” reports.

The gun dealer was acquitted for Griner

The case is reminiscent of American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in February 2022 for a small amount of hashish oil and sentenced to nine years in prison. Convicted for drug possession and trafficking. Ten months later, a longtime Russian arms dealer in U.S. custody was finally freed in exchange for Griner.

Schöbel has been in custody for more than four months. Russian officials present him with a trophy, and a photo of a German passport with six cannabis gummy bears is distributed by customs officials.

On diplomatic terms with Russia

Like the US, Germany is at war diplomatically with Russia. The main reason for this is the strong support of Ukraine. Prisoner Shobel’s situation did not make this any easier. German embassies are tightly controlled, and many Germans are in Russian prisons for similar crimes.

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Shobal had gone to Russia to meet a woman he had met online. He downplayed Russia’s harsh drug laws. His lawyer describes him as innocent and insists he just wanted to see his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, the German Foreign Office recently warned against romance-motivated trips to Russia on Instagram: “Be careful with Tinder, Kiel, Bumble and Co.: There may be ulterior motives behind new connections,” it said in a post, adding, “We can’t keep Germans out of jail.” Anecdotal evidence suggests that men from Western countries are already attracted to Russia by Russian women through online portals.

Scobel seems lost in the courtroom. As the negotiations are conducted in Russian, he does not understand. His public defender is trying to help him, but the chances of a lenient sentence seem slim. Schöbel hopes to be deported to Germany, but he has little hope.

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