Buju Banton Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

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Buju Banton

The Grammy-winning reggae singer will serve time for conspiracy to possess/distribute cocaine.

Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, 37, was convicted earlier this year in February on charges of conspiring with two others to possess at least 11 pounds of cocaine. He was also found guilty of another drug offense and a gun charge.

As Banton, the Jamaican singer won a Grammy Award for best reggae album for Before the Dawn on Feb. 13, a day before his trial officially began.

U.S. District Judge James Moody said at the sentence hearing that the 10-year sentence was the minimum he could dole out, the maximum being 151 months (or more than 12 1/2 years).

“This is a sad day for Mr. Myrie. This is a sad day for Jamaica,” said Myrie’s lawyer David Markus. “He’s a good man who has done great things in his life.”

Prosecutor James Preston, however, went on the offensive, saying that Myrie played a crucial role in what took place and lied in court about his role.

Markus asked that his client serve his time as close as possible to Miami, where he and his family resides.

Myrie was arrested in December 2009 by a government informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Video and audio recordings were made by the informant, including one in which the singer seemed to be testing cocaine in a warehouse.

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