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Buju Banton Found Guilty of Cocaine Dealing, Faces 15 Years

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 23, 2011 5:45 AM

In a few days, the Buju Banton news went from Grammy for Best Reggae Album to Buju Banton Found Guilty of cocaine possession. The reggae artist is facing up to 15 years in a federal prison.

Banton was in the news recently when he won his Grammy Award. It wasn't widely publicized that he was also set to stand trial in a federal court in Florida, which the New York Daily News reports stemmed from charges that he conspired to distribute cocaine.

During the Buju Banton trial, the reggae star testified that he was bluffing and had no money to make a deal. However, he still attempted to make a deal with an undercover informant, who, according to the New York Daily News, caught the exchange on audio and videotape. The recordings show Banton boasting about the drug deal and sampling cocaine.

Even though Banton could not follow through with the exchange, he was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. To be found guilty of a conspiracy, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant agreed with a second person to commit a crime, and that some step was taken in furtherance of that crime. Banton was tried with a co-defendant, according to the BBC, meeting the first requirement. By showing up to speak to the undercover informant and sampling the drugs, he met the second.

A federal jury ended the Buju Banton trial by finding him guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, another drug trafficking offense, and illegal possession of a firearm, as reported by the BBC. It took 11 hours of deliberations to decide on his fate.

For fans of Buju Banton, news of his conviction was a shock. Buju Banton found guilty, really?But, like a true performer, he thanked his fans for their support as he was carted off by the authorities.

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