Embattled Reggae superstar, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton, will call another prison home as he serves his ten-year prison sentence on drug-related charges.
The Grammy-winning singjay has been in transit several times since his sentencing this past June on three drug charges stemming from a December 2009 incident in Florida. Buju initially started his sentencing in Miami, where his trial and eventual conviction occurred. However, the popular Reggae singer was transferred from the Pinellas County Jail in Tampa, Florida to the Federal Holding Centre in Oklahoma City, where he spent a month, before finally being moved to the Limestone County Correctional Institution in Groesbeck, Texas.
However, a South Florida newspaper reports that Buju’s prison adventure will come full circle as the internationally acclaimed artiste faces a move, en-route, to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Miami, Florida. According to Buju’s lawyer, David Markus, Buju endured several hardships during two month stay in the Texas facility; describing the environment as one of a violent and unhealthy nature that made the singjay rather uncomfortable.
"He was at one of the worst places you can imagine; a county facility that had been converted to house federal inmates,"Markus intimated.
"The place was used for short-stay Mexican nationals who were going to be deported. It was filled with Mexican gangs. Buju was one of very few black men in there. It was really violent.”
Markus expressed pleasure with the judge in Buju’s trial, James Moody and the Jamaican consulate, who pleaded with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to move the artiste from the Texas prison as soon as possible.
"We're very appreciative that Judge Moody stood by his initial recommendation that Buju should be in Miami," Markus said.
"He made a point to comment that Buju is a peaceful person and shouldn't be housed in a violent facility."
Markus plans to appeal Buju’s ten-year sentence; filing a brief with Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta later next month.
A benefit concert paying tribute to Buju Banton will take place this Saturday from the Supa D Tropical Bar & Grill in Tampa, Florida. All proceeds from the event will go towards Buju’s appeal; with the hope for raising US$50,000 for the cause. Reggae artistes scheduled to perform include Delly Ranx, Nadine Sutherland, Gramps Morgan amongst several others.
Buju Banton was convicted in February of conspiring to organize a drug deal within a police-controlled warehouse, along with two other charges in relation to the 2009 incident.