As Buju Banton prepares to appeal his controversial conviction last year, a Florida journalist, Chris Sweeney, inked a lengthy article for the Miami New Times detailing the circumstances leading up to the conviction.
According to Sweeney, Buju Banton was entrapped into an illicit drug deal by paid government informant and career criminal Alexander Johnson, whom he met on a flight from Spain.
This compelling feature is the first to paint a fuller picture of Buju’s life’s work and the seedy circumstances surrounding the government’s case. Sweeney writes:
“The saga sheds light on how far the government will go and how dirty it will play to win the few big battles left in the long-ago failed War on Drugs. Now, while one of the most successful and controversial Jamaican artists — a man who won a Grammy for best reggae album a year ago — sits in a Miami penitentiary, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether unconstitutional tactics were used to nail a man who had no known criminal record.”
Sweeney also mentioned Buju Banton’s controversial 1992 single, Boom Bye Bye as a possible reason for the alleged entrapment. The song, which was done following the murder and rape of a young boy by a homosexual man earlier that year, has long been frowned upon by American gay and civil rights rights groups, amongst others for its violent lyrical content against gays.
Buju Banton was arrested in December of 2009 and slapped with several drug related charges after DEA agents held a sting operation at a Florida warehouse. Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was convicted in February of last year after his first trial ended in a mistrial. He was sentence to serve 10 years behind bars.
Currently, Buju legal team headed by David Oscar Markus, are awaiting word on an appeal that was filed last December on the deejay’s behalf; asking a Georgia appellate court to overturn the Reggae artiste’s 10 year sentence.
One of the grounds for Buju’s appeal was the revelation that an American constitutional law may have been broken as the U.S. government did not bring the established singjay before trial during the 70 day window allotted under the Sixth Amendment. Should that prove true, it would violate the Speedy Trial Act, possibly triggering the dismissal of Buju Banton’s case.