*Despite pleas for leniency from family members, fans and supporters, a federal judge sentenced Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton on Thursday to ten years in prison for conspiring to set up a cocaine deal.
Banton was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense, reports the AP.
The judge did throw out a gun charge, lowering Banton’s sentence from 15 years to 10. He was also ordered to serve five years of probation following his release from prison.
As previously reported, dozens of letters to U.S. District Judge James S. Moody are included in the court file for the 37-year-old recording artist, whose given name is Mark Myrie. Several of his 15 children wrote, as did a former Jamaican government official, an NBA player, other reggae artists and actor Danny Glover, who called Banton a “role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community.”
Banton’s attorney, David Markus, says federal sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of at least 15 years. In a court filing, Markus told Moody that is “way more than necessary” in Banton’s case.