Reggae singer Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison today (June 23rd) for his role in allegedly setting up a cocaine deal in Miami in December of 2009.
The 38-year-old singer, born Mark Myrie, was sentenced after he was found guilty of conspiracy to possess, with the intent to distribute cocaine.
Prosecutors accused Buju Banton of getting involved in a deal where he introduced a friend to a cocaine dealer, who turned out to be a confidential informant.
Evidence that helped convict Buju included a videotape that featured the singer inspecting a shipment of cocaine in 2009, by putting his finger in it and tasting it.
The reggae star had been previously tried, but the trial ended up in a hung jury, due to the informant’s controversial role in the case, in which he was paid $50,000 in commission after Buju’s arrest.
A gun charge was dismissed, which shaved five years off of Buju’s sentence.
With good behavior, the Reggae singer could be released from prison in as little as six years.
According to the Associated Press, Buju addressed his family and friends in a prepared statement which was read by his attorney, David Markus.
“The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I’m hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through.”
Ironically, Buju won a Grammy this year for his hit album Before the Dawn, which was partially recorded while he was behind bars.