Buju offered bail but still in custody


It is not clear exactly when embattled reggae artiste, Buju Banton, will be released from the US jail which has been his home for several months. This, despite being offered US$250,000 bail in a US Federal Court on Thursday.

Banton’s bail bond, which was secured by the equity in a friend's house, has not yet been posted and there is the issue of an immigration bond which has to be posted to prevent the entertainer from being deported. Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie has no legal status in the US as his visas were revoked following his arrest on cocaine charges there last December.

As part of the bail condition, the four-time Grammy nominee will have to wear an electronic monitor, and undergo drug testing.And there are also costs to the defence that are associated with the bail bond.
The round-the-clock security detail to scrutinise his every move, which the court has ordered, will have to be paid for by a cash-strapped Buju Banton.

Buju can only leave the house, accompanied by his security detail, to meet his lawyer, go to court, see the doctor or pick up prescribed medicine.

A pre-trial services officer will also have to approve every trip ahead of time or Buju will go back to jail.

US Magistrate, Judge Anthony Porcelli, said if Buju made bail, he would essentially be under house arrest at his home in Tamarac in Broward County as the court's main concern is a risk of flight.

If Buju's attorney manages to make the arrangements, the US government still could request another hearing before he is released.
Last month, a federal judge declared a mistrial, after jurors said they were deadlocked on charges that Buju conspired to buy five kilograms of cocaine.