Exclusive: Shaggy On Buju Banton's 10-Year Jail Sentence, "He's An Icon & They'll Never Take That Away From Him"

Saturday, Jul 9, 2011 10:10AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

With the unfortunate news of reggae star Buju Banton receiving a ten-year jail sentence on a drug conviction, SOHH hit up fellow reggae icon Shaggy to get his reaction to the outcome.

Having known Banton for years, Shaggy said the news was upsetting but believed his friend would complete his bid and return to music.

"I'll put it this way. I actually played the concert in Miami. I was actually the first person put on board to play the concert for Buju Banton to raise money for his defense," Shaggy told SOHH. "I've known him for years and years and it's a sad situation that he's in. I was really hoping for the best for him so that he could get off. But the truth wasn't in his corner and they were all lined up for him. He's an icon. They'll never take that away from him. He's an icon in this business. He's got a tracklist of recordings that have touched people's lives. You know? You just hope that he learns from this, comes out and hopefully can regain some attraction." (SOHH)

Despite the lengthy sentence, reports claim Banton avoided life behind bars.

Buju Banton was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of three counts related to cocaine trafficking. The reggae performer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been in custody since his arrest in December 2009 in Miami after he allegedly attempted to buy a large amount of cocaine from an undercover officer. He could have been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. (Los Angeles Times)

Banton also lucked out by having one of his charges dropped in the sentencing.

The 38-year-old Jamaican recording artist got a break when U.S. District Judge James S. Moody threw out a gun conviction, which would have added another five years to the minimum sentence. Banton's attorney, David Markus, said with time already served and good behavior, he could be out in six years. (Yahoo News)

Following the sentence, Banton released a statement thanking friends and family for their support.

"The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I'm hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through," he said in the statement. "The man is not dead. Don't call him a ghost." (Statement)

Check out footage of Buju Banton and Shaggy below:

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