What Did Trevor Reed Do? Why Marine Was in Russia and Why He Was Detained

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in Russia since 2019, was released on Wednesday in a prison swap with the U.S.

The release comes two years after Reed was convicted by a Russian court and sentenced to nine years in prison for a drunken incident where he was accused of endangering a Russian police officer.

"Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor's parents how much they've worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor's freedom," U.S. President Joe Biden said following Reed's release.

In 2019, Reed traveled to Russia to visit his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, and on the night of August 15, the two attended a party together. According to Reed's family, who posts information about the case online, the former Marine was encouraged to drink "a large amount of vodka and apparently became inebriated."

Trevor Reed
Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine was released from Russian prison on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in a prison swap between the U.S. and Russia. Above, Reed's parents, Joey Reed and Paula Reed, demonstrate in Lafayette Park near the White House on March 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty

"There is also a possibility that he may have been given other substances without his knowledge, but we have no indication of this other than the fact that he has no memory of anything. He has no memory of the evening past drinking vodka and being asked to toast many times," the family previously said about the case.

Following the party, Reed shared a ride home with some friends but became nauseous and asked the car to stop. After Reed got out, some others in the car called the police for assistance, and he was eventually taken to a police station "instead of taking him to a medical facility, which is reportedly the official procedure for this type of situation for Moscow residents," the family said.

A day later, when Reed's girlfriend returned to the police station, she was informed that Reed was "being charged with a serious crime of intentionally endangering the lives and health of the police officers that brought him to the station," according to the family.

The Washington Post reported that Reed was accused of attacking the police officer that initially picked him up, as well as striking another officer. Reed was also accused of causing the police car to swerve, the Post reported. During a hearing, Reed said that he did not remember many aspects of that August 2019 night and pleaded not guilty.

Despite his conviction, Reed's family has continued to cite flaws in the investigation, such as a lack of video evidence of the police car swerving on the road. On the Free Trevor Reed website, the family also discussed reports that Trevor was not placed in handcuffs when he was initially picked up by police officers.

"The initial police reports (translated into English) did not mention Trevor being physically forced into the police vehicle. Later police reports suggested that Trevor had to be forcibly placed into the police vehicle. If Trevor was extremely intoxicated and/or forced to get into the police vehicle, why was he not restrained?" The family said on the website.

Following his release on Wednesday, Reed's family thanked Biden in a statement saying "The president's action may have saved Trevor's life."

"Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States," the statement said.

Newsweek previously reached out to Reed's family for comment.

In the statement following Reed's release, Biden also spoke about Paul Whelan, another former U.S. Marine who is currently detained in Russia on accusations of espionage.

"We won't stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends," Biden said.

WNBA star Brittney Griner also remains in Russia's custody after she was arrested at the Moscow airport in February 2022. Russian authorities said cannabis oil was found in her luggage. Griner spent seven seasons with UMMC Ekaterinburg, an elite Russian women's basketball team, and was returning to Ekaterinburg at the time of her arrest.