Jamaican dance hall reggae star Buju Banton is free after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence in U.S. federal prison on drug charges.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, was convicted in a federal courtroom in Florida in 2011.
Prison officials told the Tampa Bay Times that Banton was freed Friday from Georgia’s private McMcRae Correctional Institute.
At trial in Tampa in 2011, federal prosecutors showed the jury audio and video recordings of Banton that they said proved he was involved in a deal to buy 11 pounds (nearly five kilograms) of cocaine for US$135,000.
A Drug Enforcement Administration informant provided evidence of the musician brokering a cocaine deal in Florida.
Banton was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
The Champion musician was originally sentenced to 10 years in jail but a judge dismissed the gun charge and reduced his time by two years.
Footage surfaced on social media which showed Banton arriving home in Jamaica shortly after his release from prison.
Diddy shared the footage on his Instagram page. “Today is a glorious day,” he wrote on Instagram. “Buju is free. Let’s go! King sh*t. True greatness.”
The Jamaica Observer also reported that crowds gathered at the airport to await Banton’s arrival.
According to CNN, Banton headed straight to the recording studio soon after arriving in Jamaica.
Banton was reared in Kingston and rose to prominence as a reggae and dancehall artist in the 1990s.
— With files from the Associated PressFollow @KatieScottNews
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