*A lawyer for Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton says the government set up his client in a drug deal that led to a federal charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
In court documents filed Tuesday, defense attorney David Markus says the government paid an informant to buy cocaine from the singer, whose real name is Mark Myrie. The defense is demanding the naming of the government’s confidential source, reports the St. Petersburg Times.
To sell his entrapment case, Markus will have to prove that Banton was not predisposed to engage in criminal behavior and that the government induced him.
According to court papers, Myrie claims that the informant first met Buju on a flight from Madrid, Spain, to Miami, Florida, on July 26, 2009 by “sheer chance, bad luck or other reason to which the defendant is unaware.”
According to Myrie, the police informant spent the next several months trying to convince Buju to purchase cocaine. Myrie notes that, in the papers filed in court by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there is no mention of any contact between Buju and the informant before December 8, days before he was arrested.
Banton was arrested at his Tamarac home on Dec. 10. The 36-year-old singer, currently nominated for a Grammy, pleaded not guilty to the drug charge in Tampa federal court. He was also charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during the course of an illegal activity.
The artist is being held without bail at Pinellas County Jail. His trial is expected to begin in March.