Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bob Marley's son testifies for Buju Banton in his drug conspiracy trial in Tampa

TAMPA — Stephen Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, took the stand as a character witness for Buju Banton on Wednesday, calling the acclaimed singer "the voice of the people'' who never talked about drugs.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is on trial in federal court in Tampa on drug conspiracy charges. Both grew up in Jamaica and have collaborated on music. Marley said he has known Banton for 20 years.

Defense attorney David Markus asked Marley whether he ever heard Banton discuss drugs.

"No, no," Marley said. "Never."

Marley called Banton "the voice of Jamaica," noting that his music is ingrained in the nation's culture.

"That sums it up," he said. "What Banton means to us. He is the voice of the people."

Banton has earned four Grammy nominations since his debut album in 1992. He is considered one of reggae's elite stars, with his 1995 album Til Shiloe garnering a spot among Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the '90s."

Prosecutors say they have video and audio of the musician discussing the ins and outs of drug smuggling with an informer and asking the informer to help him in other illegal endeavors.

Banton's trial started Monday after months of delays. The informer, Alexander Johnson, is expected to testify. Prosecutors said they also have video of Banton tasting cocaine during a drug deal.

Markus said Banton plans to testify.

Bob Marley's son testifies for Buju Banton in his drug conspiracy trial in Tampa 09/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 3:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco OKs higher fee for drainage work

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Trying to keep neighborhoods drier is going to cost Pasco County property owners some extra dollars.

    Commissioner Mike Wells Jr., who voted against a higher storm-water fee in February, supported the increase this time. "Bottom line: It's needed,'' he said.
  2. Florida Gators announce 2018 football schedule


    The Florida Gators announced their 2018 football schedule Tuesday, including an early SEC game against Kentucky and a matchup against Colorado State, which was part of coach Jim McElwain's buyout from the Rams.

  3. Directors of Haunted Mansion doc talk bringing piece of Disney history to Orlando


    Filmmakers Ryan Grulich and James H. Carter II aren't just casual fans of The Haunted Mansion ride. They're obsessed.

    Publicity still from the Foolish Mortals documentary.
  4. Woman found dead after fire breaks out in Hudson home


    HUDSON — An elderly woman was found dead after a fire broke out at a home Tuesday morning, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

  5. Major earthquake shakes Mexico City


    MEXICO CITY — A powerful earthquake jolted Mexico City on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage to the capital.