Buju Banton Gets Ten Years in Federal Prison on Drug Convictions
Reggae superstar Buju Banton will spend the next decade in federal lockup, a judge in Tampa ruled this morning. The sentence comes after Banton -- who played to a packed crowd at Bayfront in January and won a Grammy this year -- was convicted of trying to engineer a cocaine deal.
The judge was unswayed by pleas for leniency from everyone from
Danny Glover to Stephen Marley, instead siding with prosecutor James
Preston's arguments that his musical career shouldn't bear on the
"This is not about Buju Banton the reggae singer," Preston said. "This is about Mark Myrie the drug defendant."
Banton, who lives in Tamarac, was sucked into his cocaine-deal undoing when he sat next to a government informant named Alexander Johnson on a flight back from Europe. Johnson persuaded Banton to stay in touch about setting up a potential cocaine deal.
The feds later recorded the reggae star visiting a warehouse where he believed the cocaine was stored and talking about a deal with Johnson.
Banton argued he "was trying to impress" Johnson and never intended to actually follow through on a drug deal, but jurors were unswayed. They convicted Banton of three felonies in February.
The judge actually could have layed a much stiffer sentence on Banton this morning; ten years was the minimum, according to federal guidelines.
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.
- Court Rules Michael Pizzi Should Be Reinstated as Mayor of Miami Lakes
Fri., May 1, 6:35 p.m.
Sat., May 2, 1 p.m.
Sat., May 2, 5:35 p.m.
Sun., May 3, 1:05 p.m.
- 305 Is One of the Most In-Demand Area Codes in the Country
- DJ Laz Won't Face Criminal Charges Over Deadly Nixon Sandbar Boat Accident