June 23, 2011 15:31:45 GMT
The Dancehall artist was convicted of four charges including attempted cocaine possession and gun possession.
In a sentence hearing held on Thursday, June 23, it was determined that Buju Banton gets 10 years of prison and 5 years probation. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody at Tampa federal court found him guilty of setting up a cocaine deal in 2009, possessing a firearm and using telephone to facilitate drug trafficking offense.
Banton, real name Mark Myrie, had defended his case previously by saying that he was only boasting about the deal. His friends and family have also stood behind his back to convince the judge via letters that he was not a drug dealer. "Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer," actor Danny Glover wrote. "Society would not benefit from his incarceration."
The letters, including from his 15 children, were included in Banton's court file. The artist's lawyer David Markus said that the federal sentencing guidelines stated at least 15 years of jail but in Banton's case, it is "way more than necessary". Moody then lowered the sentence from 15 to 10 years with 5 more years for probation.
Banton was first tried in September 2010 but the jury could not reach a verdict. His case was laid on some hard evidences such as video and audio recordings which show him tasting cocaine in a Florida warehouse among others. There's also the testimony from a paid informant who worked for Drug Enforcement Administration.