Buju Banton Security Detail

Security Detail Scare

Buju Banton, the international reknown reggae artiste won his first Grammy Award on Sunday February 13, 2011 after being nominated five times in recent years. He heard the news from his Tampa hotel room the eve before his upcoming trial. Inside his hotel room were his attorneys discussing legal strategy for his case scheduled just hours away at Tampa's Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse on Monday morning February 14, 2011.


Bujus security detail, Florida Agency of Investigations, Inc. occupying the room directly across the artiste and monitoring the room with surveillance cameras from their continuous open hotel room door immediately got concerned following screams and rushed inside Bujus room to find Buju and his attorneys celebrating the Grammy news. Later on a low key celebratory dinner a few blocks away.

 

The mood while happy for all tastes of bittersweetness as his trial is just hours away. Buju is facing a possible 20 year sentence if convicted on all four counts the government is charging him with this time. He has been charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence; and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offense.

Florida Agency of Investigations, Inc

Buju heading to federal court
Buju heading to federal court
Buju Banton and friend Gramps Morgan
Buju Banton and friend Gramps Morgan

Bujus entourage readies by 8:00am each morning, and walks out of the hotel towards the federal courthouse a few blocks away. A team of attorneys including lead David Oscar Markus, Marc Seitles, A. Margot Moss, his manager Tracii McGregor, and security detail FAI, Inc arrive together skirting and avoiding numerous reporters and camera men.


Arriving at the courthouse they pass through metal detectors and find their way up the elevator to the thirteenth floor where the defendant will remain until court is recessed for the day.

Buju spent over a year in jail after his arrest and was allowed bond with the strictest of conditions after the first trial resulted in a hung jury. He posted a $300,0000 property bond secured by his good friend Stephen Marley, son of Bob Marley. He posted a $25,000 corporate surety bond and was released with pretrial supervision, an ankle bracelet as part of conditions plus required a private security detail that he must pay for himself.


The heavy security measures came after numerous objections and fear of flight risk concerns posed by the federal prosecutor due to the defendant being a non citizen with ties in Jamaica and other countries.


This is the first time something like this has been proposed and granted. Florida Agency of Investigations, Inc. placed their bid for the job, appeared before the federal judge and presented the plan to safeguard , monitor and transport Buju Banton to attorney meetings, court, and back to his residence.

The detail employed correction officers, deputies, Florida Highway Patrol, bail bondsmen and private investigators.  A home alarm and surveillance camera were installed in the defendants home.


Security detail ran for three months, two 12 hour shifts round the clock seven days a week until the trial date,  at which time a modified order relieved  security  from direct supervision when Buju was to be in court. 


While proceedings are underway  Buju is confined to the thirteenth floor throughout recess  and lunch. He at this time is in direct supervision of his attorneys per the federal judges order.  As court ends for the day security resumes detail by escorting him out of the courthouse back to his hotel. In the morning security escorts him back to the courthouse.


Almost a week gone by of living in hotel rooms, monitoring and escorting to and from the courthouse. Trial has lasted four days through closing arguments. Friday the jury hears the judges instructions and deliberates.


Pending the outcome Friday Buju may be a free man if acquitted, or if convicted incarcerated. If the jury fail to reach a verdict immediately, Buju Banton because of the weekend and Presidents Day Holiday will be transported back to his residence for the long weekend and brought back Tuesday morning under same policies and procedures to await his fate.


 

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