Buju Banton testifies in drug trial in Florida

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2003 file photo, Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton poses at the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Miami. On his upcoming album "Before the Dawn," Banton crows about standing strong, though battered and bruised, in the face of a gathering darkness. The songs sound prophetic, as the four-time Grammy nominee recorded them before he was arrested on federal cocaine charges last December. The trial is scheduled to start Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, in Tampa, Fla., a week before the album's U.S. release. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted. (AP Photo/Yesikka Vivancos, File)

September 22, 2010 6:55:44 PM PDT
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton says he talked a lot about drugs with a U.S. government informant, but that doesn't make him a drug dealer.

Banton is on trial in Florida on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and aiding and abetting two others in possessing a firearm during the course of distribution.

The singer testified Wednesday that the informant he met on a plane last summer initiated their conversations about drugs. Banton said he made up ambitions to deal cocaine to impress the informant, who he believed would introduce him to music industry contacts.

Banton said he was surprised when the informant presented him with cocaine at a Sarasota warehouse in December, a meeting captured on video.


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