Ian Thomas, 51, was arrested in Florida on February 16 on three charges, including money laundering and unlawful use of a communications device.
Thomas, who Buju said he knew since he was 19, was arrested in 2009 along with Buju and another co-accused, James Mack. Thomas and Mack pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and were given light sentences.
They were released in August 2013.
Buju, on the other hand, claimed his innocence, went to trial and was convicted.
But with Thomas’ arrest less than five years after his release, Buju’s defence support team feels it is vindication for Buju Banton, real name Mark Myrie, who has always maintained his innocence.
“This arrest shows that he (Thomas) was not credible, and we have always had an issue with that from the get-go. 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,” a member of the committee said.
“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.”
Buju was found guilty of cocaine-related charges seven years ago. In audio recordings played in court, Buju was heard thanking Colombian drug baron turned United States informant Alexander Johnson for an opportunity to make some money.
“You have given me the opportunity to make myself again,” Buju said to Johnson. The conversation took place while Johnson and Buju were in a vehicle driving to a police undercover warehouse where cocaine was hidden.
Johnson claimed Buju introduced him to Thomas earlier that day as a man who is involved in the drug trade, and could locate people who are willing to buy cocaine.