Dancehall reggae fixture Buju Banton, embroiled in a longstanding drug case which ended in mistrial in 2010, was earlier today sentenced to serve 10 years at the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse by Judge James T. Moody. Banton – real name Mark Myrie – will serve his time at the FCI prison facility in Miami where the singer first incurred his cocaine charges in 2009.
The Grammy-award winning and internationally known reggae star was convicted this past February of conspiracy charges relating to organizing a drug deal in a warehouse monitored by police officials. After the 2010 mistrial, federal prosecutors pressed the case based on video evidence which showed Banton sampling the illegal wares and discussing price details regarding the heavy amounts of cocaine being transferred.
Although many in the entertainment community vouched for Buju, including actor Danny Glover, reggae artist Stephen Marley, their vocal and written support of Banton was not enough to stay the judge’s hand. Banton was given the mildest sentence possible according to the law and a firearm possession charge was also dropped. Banton’s attorney, David Markus, has said he will file for appeal on behalf of his client and said he will fight for Banton’s release. Reports state that Banton smiled as his sentence was handed down.
The 37-year old Banton has been recording professionally since 1992 and just a day before his trail in February, the hit-making star won his first Grammy for Best Reggae Album of 2011 for his 2010 LP Before The Dawn. Banton also released a new single last week to the masses titled “Don’t Worry” as well. Making a switch to the Rastafarian faith marked by his 1995 album Til Shiloh, Banton’s music had matured from his earlier bombastic dancehall fare and took on a more serious approach.
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