Celebritiest

Buju Banton Wins Ruling For Release

Reggae star Buju Banton, who faces a February retrial on a criminal charge of conspiring to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer, could soon be released from Tampa jail. He has been locked up for the past 11 months. On November 4, Federal Judge James S. Moody Jr. denied assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Preston's request to revoke the bail conditions for Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie. Banton still must clear an immigration court bond hearing to lift a hold to deport him back to Jamaica.


On October 14, Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli approved Banton's release when Stephen Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, put up a $300,000 bond secured by his Miami-Dade County home. A security company hired to keep Banton under 24-hour-house arrest is also putting up a separate $25,000 bond. The musician must also wear a GPS monitor, and he cannot have keys to his Tamarac condo or the code to the home's new alarm system.

Banton,

37, is charged with trying to buy 5 kilograms, or 11 pounds, of

cocaine. His first trial ended in a mistrial in September, the same month he released his ninth album, "Before the Dawn."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.