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Reggae star Buju Banton gets 10 years in cocaine case

June 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Reggae star Buju Banton has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a cocaine deal.

The 37-year-old recording artist was sentenced Thursday in Tampa federal court. A jury convicted him in February of conspiring to set up a cocaine deal in 2009.

Banton's attorney David Markus had asked U.S. District Judge James S. Moody for leniency. He contended that Banton's limited participation in the drug buy, his charitable work in Jamaica and otherwise clean record were worth a reduced sentence.

In a court filing, Markus told Moody that the minimum of 15 years required by federal guidelines is "way more than necessary" in Banton's case.

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.

Just before his conviction, Banton - whose given name is Mark Myrie - won a Grammy for best reggae album for his work entitled "Before the Dawn."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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