Reggae singer Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Thursday for cocaine trafficking.
In February, Banton was found guilty of “conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense,” according to the Associated Press. A federal judge in Florida threw out the gun conviction, lowering the sentence by five years.
The Jamaican singer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was arrested in December 2009 by the Drug Enforcement Agency. His first time in court ended with a mistrial in September 2010 when jurors deadlocked.
Family and fans of the Grammy-winning artist have fought for a more lenient sentence. Several Facebook groups have been set up in support of the singer, with Twitter users calling for his release with the hashtag #FreeBuju.
“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,” Banton said in a statement read by his lawyer, David Markus. “The man is not dead. Don’t call him a ghost.”
Markus said they plan to appeal.
(Source: Associated Press)