Buju Banton was convicted by a jury yesterday:
Jamaica’s reggae superstar Buju Banton, real name Mark Myrie, has been found guilty of three cocaine related charges.
A 12 member jury a short while ago delivered the verdict in the Sam M Gibbons building in Tampa which houses the United States Middle District Court, Florida Division.
Buju was found guilty on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.
He was found guilty for aiding and abetting others in using a communication facility in the commission of a felony.
He was also found guilty for knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm in furtherance of and during the course of a drug-trafficking crime.
But he was found not guilty for attempting to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Buju was tried last week on four charges.
Buju throughout the trial maintained he was innocent of the charges saying he played no part in any conspiracy to possess cocaine.
In denying the claims against him, Buju, through his attorney David Oscar Markus, argued that the artiste never became a willing participant of the cocaine conspiracy charged in the superseding indictment.
The defence said tasting the cocaine, talking about cocaine and simply being present at the warehouse is not sufficient to find Buju guilty of the crimes charged.
This trial, which began on February 14, was the second attempt of the US government to convict the Jamaican artiste. A first trial last year was declared a mistrial after jurors failed to arrive at a unanimous position.
Buju was arrested on December 10, 2009.
His long-time friend Ian Thomas and a James Mack were arrested the same day when they attempted to buy cocaine from undercover detectives in a Florida warehouse. Thomas and Mack pleaded guilty but Buju denied the charges. He said he decided to fight in federal court because he knows he is innocent.
(AllHipHop News) Buju Banton has been convicted of conspiring to deal cocaine today, just a week after the Reggae singer snagged a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
A federal jury deliberated for 11 hours during Buju Banton’s retrial for his role in setting up a sale of five kilos of cocaine to an undercover officer in a Miami warehouse during an undercover operation by the DEA.
The singer was caught on videotape testing cocaine in a Sarasota warehouse in December of 2008, although he wasn’t present during the actual drug deal, which took place two-days later.
According to the Associated Press, Buju, 37, was found guilty of three of the four charges and now faces at least 15 years in prison, when he is sentenced.
The popular singer, who’s album Before the Dawn just won a Grammy Award, is already planning an appeal of the conviction.
His lawyer, David Markus, claims that the reggae singer was a big talker who wasn’t involved in the drug deal.
Ironically, the confidential informant who audiotaped and videotaped Buju during the alleged drug deal, earned a $50,000 commission for his role in the undercover sting conducted by the DEA.
Buju is expected to make bond until his sentencing date, which has not been scheduled.