LOS ANGELES - Detectives searching pop singer Justin Bieber's Los Angeles mansion over an egg-throwing attack seized cocaine and arrested one of the singer's associates on Tuesday, officials said.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department officer Dave Thompson said an individual was arrested after drugs were discovered in "plain view" as deputies combed through Bieber's luxury home in the upmarket enclave of Calabasas.
Around a dozen detectives swooped on the 19-year-old star's home early Tuesday, probing allegations that the Canadian teen idol was responsible for causing thousands of dollars in damage to a neighbour's house after pelting it with eggs.
Thompson said an investigation into a "felony crime" was ongoing. He said cocaine found at Bieber's property was "in plain view of the deputies when they were looking for the evidence." Bieber, who was in the home during the raid, had been neither "arrested or exonerated" in connection with the vandalism case, Thompson said.
He added that the pop star was "not connected to that cocaine other than the gentleman was staying at his residence."
Officials however dismissed suggestions that the nature of the alleged vandalism - alleged to have caused as much as $20,000 in damage - was trivial. "A felony crime is a felony crime. The damage was from the eggs," Thompson added.
"The felony comes from the amount of the damage, and this residence sustained a great amount of damage that easily achieve the felony vandalism section. "I get that the eggs don't seem that significant but it does rise to the level of a felony. There's an extensive amount of damage and I and the sheriff's department take that very seriously."
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department earlier confirmed they had served a warrant at Bieber's home over the egg-throwing allegations. "The purpose of the search warrant is to seek video surveillance or other possible evidence in the vandalism that occurred on January 9 ... The vandalism damage is estimated by the homeowner to be approximately $20,000 (S$25,000)," a statement said.
The warrant followed a complaint from a neighbour of Bieber that the star had hurled raw eggs at his home last week. The case was first classified as a possible misdemeanour offence. However officials said Tuesday it was now being probed as a more serious felony offence because the damage to property exceeded $400.
It is not known what prompted the alleged egg attack, but if Bieber is eventually charged and convicted with vandalism he could be facing jail time and a heavy fine under California's penal code.
Tuesday's raid was the latest in a long line of controversial headlines which have tarnished the once clean-cut image of Bieber, who has sold more than 12 million albums since emerging on the music scene in 2009 as a schoolboy sensation. He attracted criticism on a recent tour of Australia after allegedly spraying graffiti on a hotel wall.
A tour of South America last year also ran into turbulence, with allegations that he tagged the wall of a Rio de Janeiro hotel and failed to pay a bill in a Buenos Aires nightclub. He also caused offence by stepping on an Argentine flag thrown onto a stage during a concert. He was also evicted from a luxury hotel in Buenos Aires after a room was damaged.