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Buju Banton Drug Case Declared a Mistrial


A jury could not reach a unanimous decision after three days of deliberation in the drug conspiracy case against reggae star Buju Banton. The 12-person jury was split forcing U.S. District Judge James Moody to declare a mistrial in the case.

Buju faced life in prison if convicted of the charges, which included conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. He denied an attempt to purchase drugs at an undercover police warehouse in December of 2009 during his four-day trial in Miami, Fla. Buju told the courtroom last week that he had arrived at the warehouse expecting to inspect a boat, and was very surprised when he saw the cocaine, which he then tasted, according to surveillance video.

Banton referred to himself as a “humble musician” who was merely “talking crap” during his conversation with the prosecution’s lead witness. “I talk too much, but I am not a drug dealer,” Buju reportedly old the court in his own defense. “When I realized this was real drugs, I thought, ‘This is a real drug dealer, and I want no part of it … I was in over my head.”

Banton’s attorney is asking that the singer be released on bond.

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