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Buju Banton Received Ten Years in Prison Thanks to a Shady Snitch With Money Woes

Buju Banton
Buju Banton
photo by Jonathan Mannion

Seven months after a judge sentenced Grammy-winning reggae artist Buju Banton to ten years in Miami's Federal Correctional Institution on drug charges, an appeal by Buju is raising concerns that the feds entrapped the iconic and controversial performer.

In this week's New Timesan investigation explores why the government needed two weeklong trials to secure its celebrity conviction and tells the tale of Alex Johnson, the shady, financially troubled confidential informant who set up Buju in exchange for a huge payout.


Banton, who lived in Tamarac, met Johnson on a flight back to Florida from Europe and later followed him to a warehouse on the Gulf Coast where the snitch set up a cocaine deal while the feds were watching.

But Johnson actually gets a cut of all the money seized in the busts he sets up and has ultimately earned nearly $3.5 million from the government -- yet he owed the IRS nearly $200,000 and has filed for bankruptcy.

Check out our full feature story about Banton's flawed arrest and the snitch who took him down.

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