(SOHH.com) – Reggae star Buju Banton has pleaded not guilty to drug charges related to an arrest last month in Florida.
According to reports, Banton is not seeking a plea deal to avoid substantial time behind bars.
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton has pleaded not guilty to a drug charge in a Florida federal court. Banton was arraigned Thursday (Jan. 7) on a charge of conspiring to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota last month. The 36-year-old singer, born Mark Myrie, did not seek bail. If he bonded out of jail, he would be held by immigration officials. Banton’s attorney says his client is innocent and does not plan to seek a deal. Banton will likely miss the Jan. 31 Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for his latest album, “Rasta Got Soul.” (Billboard)
He last appeared in court last month when he was transferred from Miami to Tampa.
Wearing a beige jail jumpsuit and shackles, Banton, 36, sat expressionless in the front row of the Miami federal courtroom, his trademark dreadlocks pulled back off his narrow face and rolled into a bundle. Occasionally he looked out into the courtroom where, in the back row, his publicist and two members of the local Jamaican Consulate observed the proceedings. The only time Banton spoke was when he uttered his real name and age, and confirmed to U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff that he was indeed waiving his bail hearing in Miami to be transferred to Tampa. (Miami Herald)