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Buju Banton Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Rachel Been, AOL

Reggae singer Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday (June 24) for cocaine trafficking. Banton has been behind bars since late 2009, after he was busted for buying drugs from an undercover police officer.

A Florida judge declared a mistrial last September, leaving the Grammy winner acquitted of the attempted possession with the intent to distribute charge he was facing, but guilty of three other charges.

All along the 37-year-old and his lawyers — David Oscar Markus and David Seitles — have claimed that he was set-up by law enforcement. According to paperwork released by his council, Banton was merely a pawn in an entrapment scheme set forth by the DEA.

“The facts and circumstances of the confidential sources’ contacts with Mr. Myrie display a deliberate effort by a paid informant to ensnare a perfect stranger, who happened to be sitting next to him on an international flight, into committing a crime, thereby ensuring the informant more money,” said his lawyers. “The confidential source is a paid government informant. In addition to refusing to disclose the identity, the government has refused to identify the prior cases in which he has been involved, the outcomes of those cases, the amount of money he has earned making cases for the government, or even the amount he has been paid (or expects to be paid) in this case.”

Although his sentence is stiff, it could have been worse, as Banton was originally facing up to 20 years behind bars. While in prison he will be permitted to keep his dreadlocks and continue to practice his Rastafarian faith.

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