DEA agent said Buju set up drug dealMonday, February 14, 2011
BY PAUL HENRY Crime/court co-ordinator email@example.com
TAMPA, Florida – Entertainer Buju Banton's trial started this afternoon with DEA agent Dan McCaffrey on the stand. He testified to Banton's connection to the drug deal which resulted in the artiste's arrest on December 10, 2009.
According to McCaffrey, Banton was instrumental in setting up the drug deal which involved two other men — James Mack and Ian Thomas.
He said, however, that none of the money seized — $135,000 — belonged to Banton.
He also said Ike and Tyke, two men from Georgia, were buyers.
Earlier, while addressing jurors during the opening statement, David Markus, Banton’s attorney, listed 10 reasons why Banton was not guilty.
Among the 10 was that Buju did not get a dollar or anything from the deal; never spoke with James Mack nor heard of him before; that he never spoke with Ike and Tyke and never went to the warehouse on December 8, 2009 to see drugs.
Markus introduced Banton to the jurors, saying that he was not guilty. He said last night (Grammy night) was an important night for Banton, but this week will be important for the entertainer and his family.
He also constantly referred to the police informant as a con artist.
But in his evidence, McCaffrey said that the DEA’s policy is that the agent wouldn’t tell a prospective drug dealer that they were going to show drugs because it could put the undercover agent at risk.
Prosecutor Jim Preston, in his opening statement, said evidence will show Banton willfully entered the plan, took significant steps to participate and that he wanted to expand his existing drug trafficking network.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is being tried for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offence; and using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offence.
If convicted, Banton faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Banton had originally been tried on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offence. His trial resulted in a hung jury last September.
A new indictment was secured last November by Preston in an effort to secure a conviction against the Jamaican artiste, whose legal team is claiming that he had been entrapped by the US Government.
The artiste was arrested as part of a sting operation following the arrests of Thomas and Mack.
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