Reggae star Buju Banton will fight a drug charge in Tampa, Florida after waiving his bail hearing in a Miami federal court.
The Grammy-nominated Jamaican star, real name Mark Anthony Myrie, has remained in federal custody in Miami since Thursday (10Dec09) after he was caught with more than five kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine.
According to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit, the star and two others travelled to Sarasota last week to purchase a large amount of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement officer.
The DEA was tipped off by a confidential informant, who agreed to wear a recording device during the drug negotiation session.
The reggae star was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute.
On Wednesday (16Dec09), U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff issued the 36 year old with a temporary order of detention, explaining Banton will be prosecuted in Tampa, where he will be transferred to another facility.
After the hearing, Banton's attorney Herbert E. Walker III explained, "He believes that because the indictment was filed out of Tampa, that's where the case should be defended."
Banton has "vigorously denied" the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.