CaribWorldNews, TAMPA, FL, Fri. Oct. 15, 2010: Jamaican-born reggae star Buju Banton was yesterday granted bail some ten months after his arrest but the singer still faces a deportation hurdle.
Banton, born Mark Myrie, was yesterday granted bail in a U.S. Federal court in Tampa on a US$250,000 bond that was secured by the equity in a friend`s house.
Banton, 37, however, was released into house arrest and must now wear an electronic bracelet and be subjected to drug testing. He can only leave his house for meetings with his attorney David Markus, for doctors` appointments and to purchase medication.
He must also hire 24-hour security detail to watch his every move.
But while Banton may be free on bail for now, he can face possible deportation to his homeland. Banton`s lawyer must now also seek bond in immigration court to prevent deportation to Jamaica.
Banton`s bail comes following a September 27th mistrial was declared in the drug case against him
Banton is accused by U.S. federal prosecutors of conspiring to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer last year. 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.
According to the federal indictment, Banton and an associate negotiated with an informant to buy the cocaine. Along with a third man, they allegedly met with an undercover officer in Sarasota in early December to buy the drugs. The informant told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he also saw the singer inspecting the cocaine.
Banton`s new album, `Before the Dawn,` was recently released and shot to number two on the Billboard reggae charts. The album`s 10 songs, including one titled `Innocent,` were recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, last year before Banton`s arrest.