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Buju Banton arrested on a federal drug charge [Updated]

Buju BantonFirst, reggae singer Buju Banton was in the news this month because of his best reggae album Grammy nomination. More on that later.

Now Banton, a Jamaican performer whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, is in federal prison in Miami, the Miami Herald reports.

He's been in custody since Thursday, arrested on a charge of conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, a DEA spokesman said.

[Update, 10:27 a.m., Dec. 14, 2009: Banton allegedly attempted to buy cocaine from an undercover officer in Miami, the Associated Press reports.

According to court documents, Banton and two others contacted a police informant last week about buying cocaine in Sarasota. Drug Enforcement Administration agents say Banton negotiated the purchase and was observed inspecting cocaine offered by the undercover officer. The other men were also arrested Thursday when they allegedly attempted to buy the drugs.

Banton's record label has not commented on his arrest.]

[Read the Ministry's Dec. 15 follow-up post: "More details emerge in the Buju Banton drug case"]

Why the controversy -- one of many for the singer -- over the Grammy nod for his ninth album, "Rasta Got Soul"? Because of lyrics from the early part of his repertoire that advocated violence against gays -- an idea that's not anywhere close to new in Jamaica.

His reps told the Herald in September that criticism against Banton wasn't valid, because he'd stopped singing the song "Boom Bye Bye" -- but in an October sit-down with members of San Francisco's gay community, one activist saw "little movement on his part."

[For the record, 10:01 p.m., Dec. 13, 2009: An earlier version of this post had the name of Buju Banton's song as "Boom Boom Bye." The song's title is "Boom Bye Bye." Hat tip to commenter Kirby for making sure we get it right./cdz]

Though Banton is being held in Miami, the case in question is based in Tampa, Fla., where he will be transferred.

If convicted, he faces as many as 20 years in prison.

[Update, 9:56 a.m., Dec. 14, 2009: The Palm Beach Post reports that Banton is scheduled to appear today (Monday) in a Tampa court. Positive quotes from Buju at the Oct. 12, 2009, sit-down in San Francisco can be found here. A video of an Oct. 26, 2009, performance including the quote "There is no end to the war between me and (gays)" can be found on YouTube (we can't link directly because of the language involved). Also, here is an example of an unrelated drug trafficking case in which several people were charged with "conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute," for those unfamiliar with the charge.

If more details come out of court today, the Ministry will update again. Thanks for reading and for commenting. We're trying to get all the comments up -- just please comment without profanity.]

-- Christie D'Zurilla

P.S. If you comment, please remember that the Ministry has a zero-tolerance policy on profanity, including using **'s and --'s and other filter-tricking tactics (I'm the filter, so I can figure all that out). Just a friendly warning, in the interest of getting those comments published!/cdz

Photo: Buju Banton in 2006 at the Century Club in L.A. That show had to be moved from the Highlands in Hollywood because of a protest over the singer's anti-gay reputation. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.

The Ministry has other dispatches with an LGBT or celebrity justice vibe -- just click those links.

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Comments () | Archives (142)

Seriously people wake up, as for Boom Bye Bye, i dont care if you dont agree with the gay lifestyle thats your freedom, but even rasta is built on love and respect, and if you listen to The King, HIM never say nutten bout killing people because they are gay , and its not Rasta to do so, as for the coke thing if that coke actually touched his lips like they say , he is not only guilty, but is not a Rasta, as Rasta dont deal with no coke , as for being set up, yes its entirely possible as the US goverment made entrapment legal years ago, but he took the bait, HE TOOK THE BAIT, if he a rasta he shouldnt have even been there, but he was ,BUT HE WAS, only an idiot boy would think that this has something to do with the Gay community in america , Wake UP your worship of false idles like BUJU is a sin in itself, Jah Rastafari Everytime

To the person that said the only reason he is getting the attention is because of the anti-gay statments, get your facts straight. This artist for those who follow reggae know he is getting the attention because he is in the same league as a marley! No disrespect to that empire that they have built (MARLEY) but Buju has outsold him many times over in record sales and he has a catalog of music that spans over all facets of west indian music. I am so sick and tired of these articles that focus solely on what he wrote over twenty years ago, and so what if that is his opinion. It's so bothersome to here people continuosly bring this up (anti-gay) this man has made eight albums since then, let it go!!!! He is entilted to his opinion as long as he is not out physically hurting or killing anyone. It's ART and some will agree and some won't. If you don't share the same views don't buy his music or support his art!!! People will have there ideas about man and woman, and what is humane. Big DEAL, this man stands for soooo many other things and has been soooo much to soo many people it's a shame that his body of work is being overshadowed, it's hard enough that the average Jamaican artist has to work fifty times harder to earn a living doing music and more importantly being able to be recognized internationally.If he is found guilty of these charges I will be thoroughly saddened because Jamaican people I have found to be very proud and good natured people however over time I must say that the country has been robbed over greed and this is if found guilty what Mark was in his life and that's greedy! I will pray for him and his family also Ian because he knew betta!

HE MUST STOP PERFORM IN AMERICA AND DO LIKE SIZZLE PERFORM IN IN THE AFRICAN COUNTRIES

i firmly believe in every word that the bible says. remember sodom and gomorroh people....now every man has a right to his own belief. if Buju dont believe in same sex relationship then thats his belief and he has a right to voice his opinion. its only a matter of time before God destroy the gay community just like he did sodom and gomorrow. the truth will prevail. so if they wanna frame an innocent person just for self satisfaction or so called revenge then it will NEVER happen.
buju, we love you and believe that God is on your side and that you will be triumphant over all this.

u people here must be dum im against the gay life style too but buju let down all the people dem set up is when a cop plant something on u just in case u dont know he was on video and phone recording it took the DEA only 4 days to rap up the investigation and if u know the full story u reliaze they were tipped off by someone and im betting my last dollar buju been doing this for a while and someone in his camp didnt get payed right and snitched him out

Buju made a stupid mistake man how u fi get cocaine for much less than street value, man read between the lines. All i can say is man u mess up, sorry for u i hope others learn from this. Best of luck Buju

I beg for his release,i love him so much.20 years is too much for my great reggae singer buju banton.I plead for his forgiveness

Regards,

Azuma

We need to relax and stop coming to conclusion. I know a lot of you would like to think he is being set up or not guilty but we need to have an open mind about this whole situation.

Lets not set up our selves to be disappointed. Wait untill Buju testify that he actually had the cocaine in his posession. On the other hand let him say he was set up.
We should all wait untill he is proven guilty or not. Lets pray for him
It won't be pretty for him if he goes to prison.

We have all failed in our life time and seek forgivennes i hope they let him go and make great music . Music is life i feel the bablon focus is in the wrong area. there r people out there who r getting away with murder and are free they should get them. It's sad my heave for him.

This conspiracy surrounding the reggae King Buju Banton, must definately be a set up. I dont believe such an accomplish artist would actually buy drugs in a place like America just because of MONEY. There is no way man with such reputation would stoop so low. On that note i say America FREE the man, he is innocent. And i like Buju say No to LESBIAN and GAY. There is no where in the bible where such life style was mention as RIGHT. The LESBIAN and GAYS would do anything to get this man done eeh.

well well blessed be the most high the king of kings by a man deeds he will be judge and not by the word a man is just a man and no man is greater than the other we all fall short of the glory.buju in the valley of the shadows fear no evil if you defile your flesh and the laws of the covenant you know the rules there is no escape from the truth time will prove all what was wrong BY A MAN WORKS HE WILL BE PAID MERCY AND FORGIVENESS WILL BE GRANTED PEOPLE HAVE NO FEAR I AM THE HIGH PRIEST IS CASE IS WITH ME SPRITUALLY I AM THE GATE KEEPER THE WATCHER

im a pray for u buji althougt it look sticky

All of you that talk down the Gargamel on this one are so sick that you cant see and understand that this is a set-up. 1.If Buju waan coke fi anything, him wil get it a yard which would be easier & even cheaper 2. Buju wasnt caught with coke, he was arrested at his home 3. Buju doesnt need to trade coke, he's got money, especially now that he has dropped one of his best albums so far 4. If he is so greedy as to trade coke, he cant be stupid as to be directly involved. He'd have people who would do the runs for him, knowing fully well that the feds are watching....... This was perfectly planned and calculated to lock up the gargamel all because the gay dem nuh like him, they did it with coke cah dem kno seh d Rastaman dem bun out coke..... Jamaica, if unno believe them allegations & crucify d man, then unno give babylon nuff power fi mash up more artist career inna future. So unno fi support unno artist and stand by his innocence.

i really dont like how this looks, i think this is a cook up and the gays have something to do with it. i love u Buju and i am praying for u.

now my question is as a rasta who preach love why would he be so silly to cought up in devel work i cant believe what im here in, how CAN YOU SO FOOLISH NOT THINKING ANY WAY ITS IS NOT END OF THE WORLD KEEP THE FAITH WITH YOU JAH WILL HELP YOU OUT OF THIS MADNESS YOU SHOULD GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEE AND PRAY TO JAH WE KNOW THAT TEMPTATION ALWAYS OUT THERE KNOW YOUR FRIEND FROM THIS DAY ON SORRY TO HERE YOUR STORY LET THE THUTH SET YOU FREE WE STILL LOVE YOU JAH WILL BE THERE WHEN TIME OF THOUBLE BE STILL MY BROTHER THE GRACE OF GOD WILL SET YOU FREE YOU WILL GET YOUR IN COURT TO SPEAK DONT BE WEAK JAH LIVE IN EVERY ONE SOUL NO MAN IS A ISLAND WE NEED EACH ONE TODAY I PRAY TO GOD THAT YOU WILL BE FREE AND GO A HEAD WITH YOUR LIFE DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DO BEST I WILL KEEP PRAYING FOR YOU BUJU BANTON NO MAN CAN TAKE YOUR BELIEVE FRON YOU FROM GODSON

This is bull rasta nah deal with coke

You can't fault a man for being a product of his environment if he's shown he understands how some in society view his 20 YEAR OLD SONG. Jamaica is a place that breeds negative sentiment towards the gay community, but he hasn,t performed the song publicly in over 15 years. Give the man a break! If he bought cocaine, let's discuss that.

All I know is I want this to be handled in a timely fashion. Buju is a great guy.. He is an artist who has his thoughts and beliefs. I donot have anything against anyone ( black, white, gay eg.), but I do think this plays a factor and I hope all the evidence given can help square this away fast.

buju stay strong no matter what we love you

he messed up pretty bad. guess music isn't paying the bills.
i will click the link about the anti-homo sentiment in Jamaica in a minute. because i don't really understand why anyone that loves women would hate homosexuals. it only means less competition for me! if you ever go to gay clubs you know what i mean!

release buju banton from american prison. check on your real criminals like goerge bush and bill clinton and george .w. bush. and obama.

"BUJU,my love" I will pray for you until our Father, YaH (JaH) delivers you from the hands of Satan's children.

Pray "JaH-lion" for deliverance by the hands of The Most High.

Pray as King David did:

1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me:
fight against them that fight against me.


2 Take hold of shield and buckler,
and stand up for mine help.


3 Draw out also the spear,
and stop the way against them that persecute me:
say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.


4 Let them be confounded and put to shame
that seek after my soul:
let them be turned back and brought to confusion
that devise my hurt.


5 Let them be as chaff before the wind:
and let the angel of the LORD chase them.


6 Let their way be dark and slippery:
and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.


7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit,
which without cause they have digged for my soul.


8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares;
and let his net that he hath hid catch himself:
into that very destruction let him fall.


9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD:
it shall rejoice in his salvation.


10 All my bones shall say,
LORD, who is like unto thee,
which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?


11 False witnesses did rise up;
they laid to my charge things that I knew not.


JaH will not forsake his child! Jamaicans will not forsake their country-man!


All Truth.


Yow on a real this is confusing bee. They arrested the banton on drugs charges because they claim he`s being anti gay. This aint making no sence bee. Obviously the gargamell is being set up. Yow dem a bate up the Banton.

free buju.everyone has their own opinion.this is not about drugs this is about a song 20 year ago.send him back a yard.
WE LOVE U BUJU.

unfair. let the man do drugs if he wants to do drugs, did it show him selling it to kids? or hurting someone to get it? he wanted to party with his record deal money? drugs + cops = guns/violence. getting set up by a dea informant is so illegal to the rights of citizens and the reason why cops get killed.

 
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