Buju Banton Goes to Trial on Cocaine Charges


Buju Banton, the Jamaican reggae star, was arrested on federal cocaine charges last year. Today, he is finally going to trial in Tampa, Florida a week before his album’s release in the States.

“I’ve been accused, wrongly convicted. Jah knows I’m innocent,” he sings in his gravelly voice, invoking the Rastafarian God. “I’ve been badly singled out by beloved friends … who sold me out.”

The star recorded his 10-song album last year before being arrested in his Miami-area home on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. A grand jury indictment also charged him with carrying a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking crime.

According to the indictment, Banton and an associate negotiated with an informant to buy the cocaine. Along with a third man, they allegedly met with an undercover officer in Sarasota in early December to buy the drugs.

The informant told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he also saw the singer inspecting the cocaine. Banton wasn’t alone in all of this. Two other men plead guilty to drug conspiracy charges and a weapons charge on Wednesday. They face life in prison.