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Murder Music Star Found Guilty of Drug and Weapon Charges

Jim Burroway

February 22nd, 2011

Buju Banton, at the time of his arrest.

Jamaican Dance Hall performer Buju Banton was found guilty in Federal Court today of conspiring to set up a cocaine deal in 2009. The performer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was arrested last year in Miami following a sting by federal FBI agents. According to the Associated Press:

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 the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. He was acquitted of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. Much of the case hinged on meetings and phone calls that were video and audiotaped by the confidential informant, who was working with the Drug Enforcement Administration — and who made $50,000 in commission after the bust.

This is Banton’s second trail on these charges. A jury deadlocked in the first trial earlier last year. Banton, who won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for his latest release”Before the Dawn” last weekend, is imensely popular in Jamaica. The Jamaica Observer describes fans as “reeling”, and they’ve been Tweeting their objections:

Meanwhile fans of Reggae mourned the loss one of its biggest stars, the self-titled ‘Voice of Jamaica’.

“Buju a di heart a Reggae enu..Buju is not guilty..tell dem gu find di real criminal deem,” said fellow artiste ‘DiStar’.

For many, however, the verdict was the final act in a conspiracy against the artiste. “He’s been framed well good am still not convince he’s guilty,” said Abigale Bogle.

Banton faces the possibility of life in prison.

Buju Banton’s 1992  single, “Boom Bye Bye” calls for gay people to be shot in the head with automatic weapons, have acid poured on them, and burned “like an old tire wheel.” British LGBT Activist Peter Tatchel called the song “probably the most murderous incitement recorded by any singer anywhere in the world.” In 2007 Banton was among a number of reggae artists who signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, promising to refrain from performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements. He later denied signing the pact, and he has performed “Boom Bye Bye” since renouncing the agreement.

In 2009, Banton’s U.S. tour was marked with several concert cancellations due to protests from members of local and national LGBT groups. During the tour, Banton told a Jamaican radio station, “This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot’ and it’s clear.”

Comments

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TampaZeke
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

I don’t if I’ll be able to sleep tonight for worrying about poor little Buju Ban….ZZZZzzzzz

Fush Yumeng
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving
‘phobe.

Ben in Oakland
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Jamaican newspapers are complaining of a plot between gay peopleand the DEA.

As if… we were so powerful.

Meanwhile, Buju bye-bye.

Edwin
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

He deserves to be put in prison for the
life term just for the hateful songs.

Lindoro Almaviva
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Buji,you are the wekest link, and now I sentence you to life in a jail full of men who have not had sex in a while. Let’s see how long it takes until you eat all your homophobia.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Ya gotta love the power of denial and a good conspiracy theory. He was caught ON TAPE setting up a drug deal with an undercover officer. How is he being framed by gay people?

justsearching
February 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Glad to see him off the scene. I hope he enjoys his stay behind bars.

Regan DuCasse
February 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Whoo, Buju be ugly!

I like some reggae artists. Especially the American, Orthodox Jewish reggae artist, Matisyahu.
I have all his CD’s.
That’s what I love about America. It’s a place that could produce a reggae artist who is an Orthodox Jew.

Greyfox
February 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Ha Ha!

BlackDog
February 24th, 2011 | LINK

Hey Buju…don’t drop the soap.

Yes, I know, not very appropriate, but it had to be said. There’s something just kind of ironic about such a rabid homophobe going to prison, because (unfortunately) prison rape is not only a fact of life, but pretty much accepted in this country (Mostly by people who’ve never been in jail, of course.)

I hope nothing like that happens to him, because it would only make his hate worse, most likely.

Priya Lynn
February 24th, 2011 | LINK

Yes blackdog, many Americans think prison rape is a desirable feature of a prison sentence. The barbarism of such a large percentage of the population is deeply disappointing.

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