The Associated Press reports that Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton, a four-time Grammy nominee, started his trial on federal cocaine charges yesterday. A U.S. government informant has testified that Banton introduced him to a friend who the musician said had contacts to sell kilograms of cocaine. Authorities claim that Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, tried to buy cocaine from an undercover officer in Sarasota last year.
Recordings of phone calls and other conversations between Banton and the informant, Alexander Johnson, were played in court Tuesday.
Johnson testified that Banton introduced him to Ian Thomas. Thomas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. He faces up to life in prison.
Banton’s attorney says Johnson entrapped his client.