Bob Marley's ex-manager convicted on drug charge

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - A former best friend and one-time manager of Reggae superstar Bob Marley was convicted on marijuana charges at the end of a seven-day trial late on Monday.

Former Jamaica football player Allan Cole, known as “Skill” because of his soccer abilities, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined J$1.015 million ($15,150) after being found guilty of possession of marijuana, dealing in marijuana and attempting to export the drug.

Cole’s attorney Patrick Atkinson notified the court that his client would appeal and he was released on J$2 million ($29,850) bond.

Cole rose to prominence in 1966 by becoming the youngest schoolboy to represent Jamaica at football when he wore the national jersey against Haiti at 15 years and four months -- a record that still stands.

He played several years for Jamaica and also became the first Jamaican to land a professional contract in Brazil, playing for division one team Nautico in 1972.

But it was Cole’s association with Marley that brought him even more fame.

Cole in published interviews said that he helped the Reggae star write seven of his hit songs, including “Exodus.”

Cole was arrested on February 2, 2002, after police raided his house in the Jamaican capital and found 60 cartons of compressed marijuana, weighing 149 kg (328.5 lbs).

Cole, who maintained his innocence, said he was set up.