- Associated Press - Monday, September 20, 2010

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Rising singer-songwriter Bruno Mars was found with a bag of cocaine in a Las Vegas casino bathroom following a nightclub show over the weekend, police said Monday.

The “Just the Way You Are” crooner was arrested early Sunday after being detained by security at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, was found with 2.6 grams of cocaine and booked into county jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, police said. He faces possible felony charges.

An aide to Clark County District Attorney David Roger in Las Vegas said the case was under review and formal charges had not been filed, though Hernandez, 24, was given a court return date of Nov. 18. The office declined further comment.

Hernandez’ publicist at Atlantic Records did not immediately return messages seeking comment from The Associated Press. A hotel spokeswoman declined comment. It was not immediately clear whether Hernandez has a lawyer.

An arrest report for Hernandez said a bathroom attendant told police Hernandez was taking a long time in a stall with a bag of a white, powdered substance. 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 pulled a bag of cocaine from his left-front jeans pocket.

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?” and said he acted foolishly and had never used drugs before, the arrest report said.

Mars performed a show Saturday night at the Hard Rock’s Wasted Space nightclub. The hotel-casino is separate from the restaurant chain with the same name.

“Just the Way You Are” is currently No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He sang the hooks on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” _ both chart-toppers _ and co-wrote and produced Cee-Lo Green’s latest expletive-laden single. Mars’ debut album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” is scheduled for release Oct. 5.

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Associated Press writer Mesfin Fekadu in New York contributed to this report.