Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, Tampa, Florida
Jamaican reggae artiste Buju Banton is now preparing to take the witness stand in his own defence at his re-trial set to resume in Tampa, Florida this morning.
Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie is on four cocaine and drug charges.
Yesterday, the prosecution’s key witness, informant Alexander Johnson was made out to be a desperate man who has had to file for bankruptcy and who has not been paying his taxes.
Under cross examination by Banton’s attorney, David Markus it was also revealed that Johnson has made more money handing over drug barons to US law enforcement than he ever did during the decade he was a drug dealer.
Johnson, a Colombian who was in 1993 convicted of attempting to smuggle 700 kilogram of cocaine into the United States has earned over US$3.3 million since he became an informant in 1996.
However, Johnson admitted in court yesterday that he owes about $200,000 in taxes.
As an informant Johnson says he is paid between 15 and 20 per cent of the money recovered in drug deals.
Last year, he made US$117,000 for helping drug enforcement authorities to bring down barons.