Reggae star Buju Banton wins Grammy, faces prison on drug-related charges

February 14th, 2011 - 2:08 pm ICT by BNO News  

MIAMI, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) — Reggae star Buju Banton on Sunday won a Grammy Award, but he could be facing up to 20 years in prison on drug-related charges in a U.S. court.

Banton, 37, born Mark Anthony Myrie in Kingston, Jamaica, was arrested over two years ago in Miami, Florida in December 2009 for conspiracy to distribute and possess more than five kilograms of cocaine, as well as possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime, among other charges, according to Jamaica’s the Gleaner.

However, after a mistrial was declared 9 months later, Myrie is set to go on his retrial on Monday. He was released on a $250,000 bond, but he could be returning to prison soon after one of his alleged associates, James Mack, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, refusing to testify.

Mack had initially testified that he had never spoken to Myrie and that the gun and cash discovered in the vehicle during their arrest did not belong to the reggae singer.

During the retrial, however, Mack has refused to testify, which could be crucial in Myrie’s retrial. Furthermore, a video exists in which Myrie is shown testing out cocaine with his finger at a warehouse in front of an undercover police officer.

The charges against Myrie explain that he, along with two associates, one of them being Mack and the other Ian Thomas, conspired to buy a large amount of cocaine.

On Sunday evening, Buju Banton won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album category.

“It feels good,” Banton’s management said on his behalf. “I have been nominated four times before although I never won. To me it means a lot because it shows that my music has transcended a lot of borders and people are now paying attention to what I’m saying in-depth.”

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