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Reggae Singer Buju Banton Sentenced to 10 Years in Drug Case


Mark Myrie, known as Buju Banton, 38, from Jamaica, was convicted of cocaine trafficking in Federal Court on Thursday, June 23.

His conviction stems from the role he played in a large cocaine trafficking deal that took place in 2009. Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the lowest sentence legally allowed for his role, over the prosecutions objections for a higher sentence.

David Markus, Banton’s attorney argued that Banton deserved a lower sentence because of his limited participation in the drug buy, his charitable work in Jamaica and his otherwise clean record.

The Jamaican recording artist got a lucky break when U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, threw out a gun conviction, which would have required an automatic five years to any sentence the judge would have imposed on Banton.

Judge Moody threw out the gun charges, acknowledging that Banton had no idea others involved in the conspiracy were carrying guns, which was the basis for the charge. Banton was not convicted on carrying a weapon himself.

In his Caribbean homeland of Jamaica, radio stations played his songs non-stop on Thursday, including “Not an Easy Road “and “Untold Stories.”

A Jamaican disc jockey, Bunny Goodison said that husky-voiced singer, who has long been a top star in his homeland with his brash reggae-rap hybrid of dancehall music and a more traditional reggae sound, was “the best at what he did during the last 20 years.”

A jury found Banton guilty in February of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.

In a statement he wrote after the sentencing, Banton thanked his family members, fans and supporters from around the world who flooded the court file with letters of support.

The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I’m hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through” he said in a statement, which was read by his attorney, David Markus.

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June 27, 2011 - Posted by | Community News

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