“Reggae star Buju Banton faces up to 15 years in jail after being convicted on three counts of drugs and weapon charges. Arrested in 2009 following an alleged cocaine trafficking deal, the singer – who last week won the Grammy for best reggae album – is being held for sentencing without bail.
“I’m fighting for my freedom,” Banton told the court during the trial’s final hours. “I’m fighting for my life.” The jury in Tampa, Florida took 11 hours to convict Banton, born Mark Myrie, for conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and one more trafficking charge. He was acquitted on a fourth charge of attempted cocaine possession. “This is not about Buju Banton, the reggae singer,” assistant US attorney James Preston told the jury. “This is about Mark Myrie, the drug defendant.”