Homophobic singer Buju Banton ‘innocent’ of drug charges

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Buju Banton, the homophobic Jamaican reggae star, is innocent of the drug charges against him, his lawyer has said.

The Grammy-nominated singer was arrested last Thursday in Miami on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

He is expected to be transferred to Tampa to face federal charges.

The star and two others allegedly attempted to buy the cocaine from an undercover US Drug Enforcement Administration officer after an informant tip-off.

His laywer, Herbert E. Walker III, has said Banton is “completely innocent” of the charges and is confident he will be exonerated.

In 2004, he was convicted of a minor drug offence in Jamaica and was banned from entering the US for 12 months.

Banton was nominated for his fourth Grammy Award earlier this month.

He was nominated for Best Reggae Album for Rasta Got Soul and will compete against Sean Paul, Gregory Issacs and sons of Bob Marley Julian and Stephen Marley.

Gay rights organisations such as the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centre and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation attacked the honour, citing his record of homophobia.

Banton’s notorious 1988 hit Boom Bye Bye appears to incite the burning, shooting in the head and pouring acid over the faces of gay people. Banton claims he has not performed the song live for years but video footage shows him singing it at a concert in 2006.