LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was charged with felony cocaine possession but denied the drugs found in the purse she carried were hers, US media reported.
People magazine said Hilton faces up to four years in prison if convicted on the drug charge.
Following the socialite's weekend arrest with her boyfriend, Las Vegas nightclub executive Cy Waits, police said they found 0.8 grams (.03 ounces) of cocaine, wrappers typically used to roll marijuana cigarettes, asthma medication and 1,300 dollars in cash.
Police pulled over the black SUV Waits was driving on Las Vegas' renowned Strip after smelling marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Hilton was conditionally released shortly afterwards.
An arrest report cited by US media said Hilton was escorted to a hotel "at her request" to use the bathroom shortly after police stopped the car.
While in a holding room, she took lip balm from her purse.
"As she began to open it, I saw a small bundle of what I believed to be cocaine in a clear baggy begin to fall from the purse and into my hand," Lieutenant Dennis Flynn of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote in the report.
Asked whose cocaine was in the purse, Hilton told Flynn she "had not seen it" and thought it was chewing-gum, according to the report.
Hilton also told police she had borrowed the purse and that the cosmetics did not belong to her, though the asthma medication, cash, credit cards and Zig-Zag wrappers were hers.
Her lawyer, David Chesnoff, encouraged people "not to rush to judgment until all of the facts have been dealt with in a court of law," according to a statement released to US media.
It has been an eventful few months for Hilton, 29, who was briefly detained by police in July on the French island of Corsica after being caught with less than a gram (.04 ounces) of cannabis in her handbag.
The great-granddaughter of the Hilton hotel chain's founder, she shot to fame in 2003 when her boyfriend leaked a video of their sexual escapades on the Internet. Hilton also starred in the reality TV series "The Simple Life."