Buju is ‘embarassed … scared’


Reggae star Buju Banton said he's embarrassed about what he has done, afraid of losing his freedom but innocent of any involvement in drug trafficking, a story in the Tampa Bay Online stated.

"I'm just a humble musician," he testified on Wednesday in his trial on federal drug charges.

An informant's recordings capturing Banton talking about large-scale cocaine deals are all accurate, the Jamaican musician said, but they are just talk.

"I was just talking garbage with him," Banton said, referring to informant Alexander Johnson. "I was just talking straight-up garbage," Tampa Bay Online said in their report.

Banton, 37, testified that he thought Johnson, who introduced himself as "Junior," was funny and likable. Banton said he went to coach class during the flight to check on his band members and then encountered a flight attendant who blocked his return to business class.

He said he was allowed to return to his seat after Johnson interceded and vouched for him.

He said Johnson also told him he knew people in the music business in Los Angeles and might be able to help him.

"I thought I was going to see him because we were talking about my career," Banton said.

When he talked to Johnson about buying and selling cocaine, Banton said, "I was trying to impress this guy, and that's what got me in the hot seat I'm sitting in now."

Asked why he tasted cocaine when shown a kilo of the drug in a Sarasota warehouse, Banton said, "I don't know why I did that. If I could, I would rewind the hands of time."

Banton, a four-time, Grammy-nominee whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been held without bail since his arrest in December. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Two codefendants, James Mack and Ian Thomas, have pleaded guilty.