Mistrial for reggae singer Buju Banton in U.S.

Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:18pm EDT
 
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TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - The Florida drug trial of Jamaican reggae artist Buju Banton ended in a mistrial on Monday when jurors said they could not agree on a verdict after three days of deliberations.

Banton, 37, was arrested in December in Sarasota, Florida, and charged with conspiring to buy 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of cocaine from an undercover police informant. He has been held without bail since his arrest.

The 12-member jury had been meeting since Thursday after a four-day trial at the U.S. Courthouse in Tampa. U.S. District Judge James Moody said a retrial would not begin until at least December.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, could face life in prison if convicted. His defense attorney argued that the entertainer was tricked by the informant, a convicted cocaine smuggler who avoided prison by agreeing to work as an informant.

(Reporting by Robert Green, editing by Greg McCune)