Some Charges against Buju Banton Dropped

Yesterday (February 16, 2011), Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton’s lead attorney David Markus applied to have charges dropped after the prosecution closed its case in Banton’s retrial on drugs and firearms offenses. The Jamaica Observer reported that Magistrate James Moody could not drop the “conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine” and “attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine” charges. However, Moody indicated that he would be dropping the charges of “possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense” and “using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.”

The reggae star underwent intensive grilling during his cross-examination from Assistant District Attorney James Preston in the Federal Court in Tampa, Florida. Banton was taken to task for a number of boasts he made about being involved in drug dealing to government informant Alexander Johnson. Banton, who lost his cool on several occasions, kept repeating that he was not a drug dealer.

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