Reggae star Banton gets 10 years in cocaine case

June 23, 2011 - 10:29 AM

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Grammy-winning reggae star Buju Banton has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by 5 years of probation, for his role in a cocaine deal.

The 37-year-old Jamaican recording artist was sentenced in Tampa federal court Thursday morning. A jury convicted him in February of conspiring to set up a cocaine deal in 2009.

His attorney, David Markus, had asked U.S. District Judge James S. Moody for leniency. He contended that Banton's limited participation in the drug buy, his charitable work in Jamaica and otherwise clean record were worth a reduced sentence.

Just before his conviction, Banton — whose legal name is Mark Myrie — won a Grammy for best reggae album for his work entitled "Before the Dawn."