- Associated Press - Monday, September 20, 2010

TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton’s trial on drug trafficking charges is under way in Florida.

The four-time Grammy nominee faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

Banton’s attorney told a jury in Tampa federal court Monday that the singer made “the worst mistake of his life” when he used his finger to taste cocaine in front of an undercover government informant in Sarasota in early December. But David Markus insisted his client didn’t participate in any conspiracy to sell drugs.

Prosecutors said Banton was an established drug trafficker by the time he met the informant. They said the singer was looking for “more, new and different money through a new conspiracy he was shopping for” in addition to drug deals he had already financed.

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Information from: The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Jury selection is under way in the cocaine trial of Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton.

The four-time Grammy nominee’s trial began Monday in federal court in Tampa. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors say Banton and an associate negotiated with an informant to buy more than five kilograms of cocaine. Along with a third man, they allegedly met with an undercover officer in Sarasota in early December to buy the drugs. The informant told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he also saw the singer inspecting the cocaine.

The other two men have pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Banton.

Banton’s attorneys say the government’s informant entrapped him.