Buju strikes deal with US: gun charge dropped, prison release slated for 2019
Imprisoned Jamaican entertainer Buju Banton has reportedly made a deal with United States prosecutors to remove a pending gun charge and free him in less than four years.
A report published today by the Tampa Bay Times says Banton has agreed to stop filing appeals in exchange for prosecutors dropping the pursuit of a gun charge.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, could have faced an additional five years if convicted.
Instead, he will be deported to Jamaica after his scheduled January 2019 release from prison.
The report quotes U.S. Attorney's Office as saying that U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. approved the settlement earlier this week.
Nearly two years ago, Moody threw out a 2011 conviction on the gun count after finding that a juror had inappropriately researched a legal theory relating to the charge.
Banton also wanted the other verdicts to be thrown out but recently, he lost an appeal, and the matter was returned to Tampa.
Banton is serving a 10-year sentence on drug-related charges after he was arrested at his South Florida home in December 2009 and charged with conspiracy to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine.
His arrest followed a sting operation at a Drug Enforcement Agency-controlled warehouse in Tampa, which also resulted in the arrest of James Mack and Ian Thomas, who were attempting to purchase cocaine from undercover agents.