Mark Myrie also known as Buju Banton has officially been sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Banton was handed his time by Federal Judge Jim Moody in the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse today in Tampa, FL.
Among the dozens of letters of support in the court file were those from several of Banton’s 15 children wrote, a Jamaican government official, an NBA player, other reggae artists and actor Danny Glover, who called Banton a “role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community.”
“Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer,” Glover wrote. “Society would not benefit from his incarceration.”
Banton’s oldest son, also named Mark Myrie, wrote that his father “puts hard work, sweat and tears into his music and that is what (he) ‘puts on the table,’ it has never been drugs…The situation is just an example of our mere imperfections as people, being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Banton remains wildly popular in Jamaica, and his trial — his second over the drug accusations — was packed with supporters that included other well-known reggae artists. The first trial ended in a mistrial last year after the jury deadlocked.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, was found guilty in February of conspiring to negotiate a drug deal in a police controlled warehouse in Florida. The reggae artist originally faced a minimum sentence of 15 years. In February, Banton was found guilty of conspiring to negotiate a drug deal with undercover officers. He was found guilty on 3 of 4 charges including:
- conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine
- using wires to facilitate a drug offense
- possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense
The possession of a firearm charge has since been dropped. Banton will carry out his time at the FCI prison facility in Miami, Florida.
In a statement he wrote post-sentencing, Banton — thanked family, fans and supporters from around the world who flooded the court file with letters of support.
“The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I’m hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through,” he said in the statement, which was read by Markus. “The man is not dead. Don’t call him a ghost.”
On the island of Jamaica, radio stations played his songs, including “Not an Easy Road” and “Untold Stories.”
Jamaican disc jockey Bunny Goodison said the husky-voiced singer, was “the best at what he did during the last 20 years.”
“The loss of Buju for 10 years will be a tremendous blow to the industry,” Goodison said in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. “The quality of his music and the message of his songs, which often dealt with the essence of being black, was unparalleled during his time.”
Markus said he plans to appeal. He also said with time already served and good behavior, he could be out in six years.
“This fight is not over,” Markus said. “We will keep fighting for him. Mark Myrie is my brother, and I’m going to keep fighting until they tell me to stop.”
Shortly before his conviction in February, Buju Banton won a Grammy for best reggae album for his work entitled “Before the Dawn.”
Sources: Associated Press
Wondering what to do over Memorial Day Weekend 2011 in Miami to kick off your summer right? XO Management and Rockers Island are presenting an event-filled, star-studded urban weekend that you will not want to miss. Not only is the Best of the Best concert returning to Miami’s Bicentennial Park with an expanded two-day show, but there are a number of other major parties planned to keep you entertained all Memorial Day weekend long.
Prime Time Thursdays Miami Edition: Thursday May 26th
DJ Young Chow and Correy Kaiten present the Miami Edition of Prime Time Thursdays at Cameo nightclub on South Beach (1445 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139). This amazing party will feature appearances by DJ Khaled and Miami recording artist Ace Hood. The party is hosted by Chris Findley and Chinee and features music by DJ Young Chow, Massive B, DJ Starks, and DJs Springer and Fergie.
Official Miami Memorial Day Weekend Kick-Off Party: Friday May 27th
Friday night will be the official kick-off party for Best of the Best Memorial Weekend at Mansion nightclub on South Beach (1235 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139).
Spring Fest/Best of the Best Concert Day One: Saturday May 28th
What has historically been a daylong concert on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend has expanded into a two-day concert series at Miami’s Bicentennial Park (1075 Biscayne Blvd Miami, FL 33130). This year, Saturday’s concert will showcase some of the hottest R&B artists out right now, including Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, Jeremih, Lloyd, Miguel, Marsha Ambrosius, and more to be added in the coming weeks. Saturday’s concert is hosted by Rickey Smiley (of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show) and Jabba (of Hot 97).Gates open at 5pm sharp.
Official Afterparty for Spring Fest/Best of the Best Concert Day One: Saturday May 28th
The party continues after day one’s Spring Fest concert with the official afterparty at Cameo nightclub on South Beach (1445 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139).
Best of the Best Concert Day Two: Sunday May 29th
The second day of the Best of the Best concert will feature some of the biggest names in Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Caribbean, and Hip Hop music. Acts include Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, DJ Khaled, Vybz Kartel (performing live via satellite from Jamaica), Assassin, I-Octane, Alison Hinds, Sanchez, Etana, Ace Hood, Trina, Demarco, Richie Loop, Gappy Ranks, Chino, Romain Virgo, ZJ Liquid, Bruck-Up, Honorebel, Tifa, Zeke Don, Supa Twitch, Karim Hype, and more still to be added. Day two will also be held at Bicentennial Park, with gates opening at 3pm.
NYC vs. MIA: Monday May 30th
Tony Smalls and Best of the Best present the Memorial Day NYC vs. MIA party at Mansion nightclub on South Beach (1235 Washington Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139). The party will be hosted by DJ Stringer, DJ Fergie, and DJ Young Chow. Appearing and representing NYC are Steelie, Massive B, and Platinum Kidz; representing MIA are Black Chiney, Poison Dart, and Innocent Sound. Doors will open at 11pm and the dress code is strictly enforced. As a bonus, all ladies have free admission before midnight!
With great concerts, huge celebrities, and hot parties, there’s nothing more you need for the best Memorial Day Weekend you’ve ever had!
For $20 advance tickets for Prime Time Thursdays Miami Edition, contact Young Chow at 631-839-1104 or Correy at 347-435-8978
To RSVP for NYC vs. MIA, call 786-319-1477