The famous Dancehall reggae Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison today as the longstanding drug case trial that took place at the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse by Judge James T. Moody. The court hearing took place in Tampa, Florida.
He has been charged with “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.”
Buju Banton was first apprehended by police authorities in 2009 on cocaine charges.
He was convicted this February on charges related to conspiring in organizing a drug deal in a warehouse which was being monitored by police officials.
Banton’s case ended in a mistrial in 2010. Federal prosecutors provided evidence to the court in the form of a video in which Banton is shown sampling the illegal wares and engrossed in discussions related to heavy amounts of cocaine being transferred.
Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, will be serving his time at the FCI prison facility in Miami.
Buju Banton is an internationally recognized reggae star who has also won a Grammy for his work.
Banton had much support from the entertainment industry in this trial; however, their vocal and written support of Banton was not enough to save him from prison.
According to sources, the reggae star was given the mildest sentence possible according to the law. He was also facing firearm possession charge which was dropped by the judge. If he had not been dismissed of this charge, five more years of prison time would have added to his sentence.
Banton’s attorney David Markus has said that he will file for an appeal on behalf of his client. He also said that he will fight for Banton’s release.
Buju Banton reportedly smiled when the judge announced his sentence.
The 37-year-old reggae star has been professionally recording since the year 1992. He had his last recording in February, just a day before his trial.
He won his first Grammy for Best Reggae Album of 2011 for his 2010 LP “Before The Dawn”.
Last week, Banton released a new single which is targeted to the masses and is called “Don’t Worry”.
Despite Banton’s denial of the charges, he was found guilty on the charges put up against him.