Reggae star Buju Banton received some bad news Thursday (June 23) by being found guilty and sentenced to 10 years behind bars for a cocaine trafficking conviction.
According to reports, Banton could have ended up with life in prison.
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 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)
Prior to being found guilty last February, Banton’s drug case was declared a mistrial.
The Florida drug trial of Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton ended in a mistrial on Monday when jurors said they could not agree on a verdict after three days of deliberations. The 12-member jury had been meeting since Thursday after a four-day trial at the U.S. Courthouse in Tampa. U.S. District Judge James Moody said a retrial would not begin until at least December. (ABC News)