Buju Banton found guilty of cocaine and gun charges

After 11 hours deliberation a federal jury returned their verdict on the fate of Grammy winner reggae singer Banton.  He was found guilty of three of the four charges he faced.

The Jamaican reggae singer, won his Grammy just last week for best reggae album for “Before the Dawn.”

He was found guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. He was acquitted of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Wildly popular in his native Jamaica, his trial was based on accusations that he conspired with two other men in setting up a drug deal in December of 2009.  The courtroom was packed with supporters that included other well known reggae artists.

Prosecutors argued that Banton portrayed himself as a broker of drug deals in several conversations with a confidential informant.  Defense attorneys countered that he was simply a “big talker” trying to impress.

This was Banton’s second trial. A jury deadlocked in his first trial last year.

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