Details emerge on charges against Buju Banton

Grammy nominated Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton will fight a drug charge against him in Tampa instead of Miami. Banton waived his bail hearing Wednesday in Miami federal court. His case is being prosecuted in Tampa, where he will be transferred. U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff issued a temporary order of detention for the 36-year-old singer, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie.

Banton did not speak at the hearing, except to reply, “Yes, sir,” to the judge’s questions. Like the other 10 jail inmates waiting in the courtroom, he wore a beige jail jumpsuit over a white T-shirt, with his long dreadlocks tied up off his neck and his hands shackled in front of him. “He believes that because the indictment was filed out of Tampa, that’s where the case should be defended,” Banton’s attorney, Herbert E. Walker III, said after the hearing.

Banton has been in federal custody since last Thursday. He is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Walker said the charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

According to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit, Banton and two others traveled to Sarasota last week to purchase a large amount of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer. The DEA was tipped off by a confidential informant who agreed to wear a recording device during the drug negotiation session. Banton’s attorney said the singer is “completely innocent” of the charges against him. “He’s a very spiritual person,” Walker said. “He has a lot of faith in God. He’s confident he’s going to be exonerated.”

The husky-voiced Banton has been a major star in his native Jamaica since the early 1990s with brash dancehall music and, more recently, a traditional reggae sound. His career has been stunted in the United States because of some song lyrics that advocated violence against gay men. Earlier this month, Banton’s ninth album, “Rasta Got Soul,” was nominated for a Grammy for best reggae album. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation launched an online petition protesting the nomination.

For the original Associated Press report go to

2 thoughts on “Details emerge on charges against Buju Banton

  1. Rasta don’t mix up with cocaine and snotty powder business. Its evident and clear someone has set up the Ras. Pure mix up business gone a road and Buju had an informer among him. Parasite. Buju, hold the faith Rasta, Jah will provide, protect, and prove your innocence Rasta. Hold ya head high and locks long. Babylon and Gideon won’t stop your stride.

    In a another note, fuck botty mon and botty woman. Their fault for choosing to live that way. Man for woman and woman for man. The only way because God said so. It is written Leviticus, “Man shall not lay with man and woman shall not lay with women.” So on that note, “Boom Bye Bye in a botty head, Rumor nah promote di nasty mon haffi dead.”

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