LAS VEGAS – Smoke wafting from a Cadillac Escalade on the Las Vegas Strip set off Paris Hilton’s latest legal troubles when a motorcycle officer who suspected the smell was marijuana stopped the vehicle and police say a bag of cocaine later fell out of the 29-year-old socialite’s purse.
It’s the second time this year Hilton has been arrested on drug possession allegations, although authorities in South Africa dropped marijuana charges earlier this summer. In 2007, Hilton pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.
This time, the hotel heiress was with her boyfriend, Las Vegas nightclub mogul Cy Waits, who manages a club inside the Wynn Las Vegas and was driving the black SUV that the officer stopped nearby at 11:22 p.m. Friday.
The officer “followed the vapor trail and the odor of marijuana to the Escalade,” police Sgt. John Sheahan said.
As other police arrived and a crowd gathered on the busy neon-lit Strip, Hilton asked to go into the Wynn resort for privacy, Sheahan said.
“Miss Hilton pulled out a tube of lip balm,” Sheahan said. “At the same time … a bindle of cocaine in a plastic bag came out of her purse” in plain view of police in the room.
Police Officer Marcus Martin characterized the cocaine as a “small amount,” or a package of the size usually associated with personal use. Police would not specify the weight of the cocaine or whether any marijuana was confiscated.
Hilton was arrested on suspicion of felony cocaine possession. If convicted of the low-grade felony, she would get probation, but any violation of that probation would be punishable by up to one to four years in Nevada state prison.
Waits, 34, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in county jail. Police said he owned the 2009 Cadillac.
Hilton and Waits were booked into the Clark County jail, where Sheahan said Hilton was kept handcuffed on a booking room bench, fingerprinted, photographed and released without bail about 2:45 a.m. Saturday.