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Deliberations to continue Friday in reggae star Buju Banton's Tampa drug trial

TAMPA – A federal jury went home Thursday without a verdict in the drug conspiracy trial of reggae star Buju Banton.

Jurors are expected to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, faces up to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say Banton discussed the ins and outs of drug smuggling with an informer and asked the informer to help him in other illegal endeavors.

Defense attorney David Markus argued that while Banton talked with a government informer about drugs, he never went through with the deal.

But U.S. Assistant Attorney James Preston said Banton was a middle man in a drug transaction in which an associate of Banton would buy five kilos of cocaine from an undercover police officer.

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."

If he is found guilty, Banton could face life in prison.

Deliberations to continue Friday in reggae star Buju Banton's Tampa drug trial 09/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 5:38pm]
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