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Mars could face 4-year term on drug charge


Hawaii-born singer-songwriter Bruno Mars is facing a felony cocaine possession charge stemming from his arrest after a performance at a Las Vegas nightclub last month.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint yesterday alleging the 24-year-old had 2.6 grams of cocaine when he was arrested Sept. 19.

Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, is due in court Nov. 18 to face a single charge of possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, he could be sentenced to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Hernandez was in Las Vegas for a performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Wasted Space nightclub.

After the show, a bathroom attendant told police Hernandez was taking a long time in a stall with a bag of a white, powdered substance, according to the arrest report. The attendant alerted a security guard, who confronted Hernandez as he left the stall. The security guard said he asked Hernandez to hand over any narcotics he had, and Hernandez removed a bag of cocaine from his left-front jeans pocket, the report said.

Hernandez was taken to a holding cell, where he was questioned by an arresting officer. When asked what was going on, Hernandez replied: "Can I speak to you honestly, sir?" He said he acted foolishly and had never used drugs before, the arrest report said.

A former child entertainer in Waikiki who graduated from Roosevelt High School, Hernandez moved to Los Angeles in 2002.

His single "Just the Way You Are" is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Mars’ debut album, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," will be released in stores on Tuesday.

His label, Elektra Records, released a brief statement yesterday: "We congratulate Bruno Mars on his chart-topping success, and provide him with our full love and support."

Under the name Mars, he co-wrote and made guest appearances on this year’s hits "Nothin’ on You" with B.o.B and "Billionaire" with Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes.

Mars is also scheduled to be the guest musical performer on "Saturday Night Live" next week with host Jane Lynch from "Glee."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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