Nov 11, 2010

Buju out!

Reggae singer Buju Banton is out of custody for the first time in almost a year, after stepping out of the Pinellas County Jail in Tampa, Florida, after he was granted bail in an immigration court.

Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, had been behind bars since his arrest in December on federal drug-trafficking charges. After a jury was deadlocked in September, a new trial date was set for February.

Under the terms of Buju's bond, he must post US$300,000 worth of equity in the South Florida home of his friend, reggae star Stephen Marley, son of Bob Marley. He must also hire a private security detail to guard him so he does not flee.

Buju was required to sign an extradition waiver, ensuring his return if he flees the country, and will have to wear an electronic monitoring device.

The prosecution alleges Buju is a drug trafficker who tried to enter into a deal with an informant to finance the purchase and sale of cocaine. The defence maintains the singer was set up by the informant.

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