A man who was involved in the drug trafficking case that sent Grammy-winning musician Buju Banton to jail has been arrested and Banton’s team says it helps their client’s case.
Ian Thomas was one of the men who pled guilty in the 2011 trial but was given a lighter sentence along with another accused person, James Mack, according to Caribbean website The Tropixs.
On Friday, Feb. 16, Thomas was arrested on charges including money laundering and unlawful use of a communications device.
For Banton’s legal team, they feel the 51-year-old’s newest booking shows how unreliable he was during the case in which Banton, real name Mark Myrie, was given a harsh sentence.
“This arrest shows that Thomas was not credible, and we have always had an issue with that from the get-go,” the dancehall, ragga, and reggae artist’s team said. “Here it is he turned against Buju, entered a plea bargain, got a reduced sentenced, and almost immediately after, on his own, he’s found with drugs and arrested. They were the ones caught in the warehouse in 2009. Mark [Myrie] was arrested at his home. It’s clear at this point who was the drug dealer.”
In February 2011, the “Before the Dawn” record maker was convicted of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and another drug trafficking offense along with a gun charge. The BBC reported he had a fourth charge of attempted cocaine possession but it was dropped.
As Banton continues to await his release this December, his former manager Donovan Germain told National Weekly last year that he’s been a hot commodity among concert promoters.
“People calling me left, right and center for Buju to do shows,” he said per the Guardian. “Wi talking ‘bout the Caribbean, Europe.”
Banton is due to serve five years of probation after his release from a Georgia federal prison. He will be sent back to Jamaica upon his release.