Reggae star Buju Banton pleads not guilty

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2003 file photo, Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton poses at the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Miami.

January 7, 2010 7:19:32 PM PST
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton has pleaded not guilty to a drug charge in a Florida federal court.

Banton was arraigned Thursday on a charge of conspiring to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer in Sarasota last month. The 36-year-old singer, born Mark Myrie, did not seek bail. If he bonded out of jail, he would be held by immigration officials.

Banton's attorney says his client is innocent and does not plan to seek a deal.

Banton was arrested at his Tamarac home on Dec. 10, two days after federal authorities say he met with a confidential informant to discuss the drug purchase.

Banton will likely miss the Jan. 31 Grammy Awards, where he is nominated for his latest album, "Rasta Got Soul."


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