The US government’s star witness in the case against Jamaican singer Buju Banton is being paid US$3.3 million.
The convicted drug trafficker who provided information used by Federal Law Enforcement agencies in the case against the reggae singer, travelled with him on a flight from Barcelona to Miami.
Mark Myrie, popularly known as Buju Banton, is languishing in a US jail awaiting trial for charges of possession and intent to distribute cocaine.
The informant, who sources alleged should have been deported, was permitted to stay in the US after deciding to co-operate with US law enforcement in the prosecuting the Jamaican singer.
Based on information disclosed in US District Court Middle District of Florida Tampa Division early last month, the informant has not paid his taxes and another judge found him to be untruthful in another matter. Additionally, the court on March 4 ordered full disclosure off all cases in which the informant has testified.
Recommendations or other favourable treatment from prosecutors or law enforcement with regard to the informant’s immigration status and the civil matter involving a tax lien and debt currently being negotiated between him and the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) Buju’s counsel David Oscar Markus said, “I’m still awaiting specific information relating to law enforcement assistance to the informant concerning visas to continue cooperation.
In addition, two agents appeared at the deportation hearing on the informant’s behalf. Markus disclosed that the prosecution was tardy in handing over important details such as the informant’s plea agreement from his original criminal case and agreements with law enforcement, and transcripts of his testimony.
The attorney argued that the trial was fast approaching on Tuesday April 20 and he needed the immigration information to effectively cross-examine the government’s witness. In addition, defense attorney Markus said the informant has not turned over items that were acknowledged that must be disclosed.
If the DEA has provided any assistance to the informant, Markus said, such information including the quantum and the government’s position must be disclosed. All of this, the attorney argued, goes to honesty, bias and motive to curry favour with the government.