Buju Banton Gets 10 Years for Cocaine Trafficking

Buju Banton was handed a 10-year prison sentence on Thursday in connection with a 2009 drug trafficking case where the reggae star allegedly helped carry out a cocaine sale.

Judge James Moody found Banton guilty on the charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, which carries a minimum punishment of 10 years. The 37-year-old Jamaican, whose real name is Mark Myrie, escaped additional jail time when Judge Moody threw away a charge for possession of a firearm after the prosecution failed to prove that Banton had a gun during the crime. Banton did not speak during the sentencing, but released a statement read later by his attorney. “The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and am hopeful. And that is sufficient to carry me through,” Banton said through lawyer David Oscar Markus.

Banton was arrested in 2009 on the strength of taped conversations with a police informant discussing the cocaine sale. A video presented during the trial showed Banton testing what appeared to be cocaine. Following a mistrial in September 2010, the case was retried and Banton was found guilty on three charges in February this year.