A popular Latino singer has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge, officials said.
Dressed in a black miniskirt and a red jacket, Marisela Hernandez, known by some as a "Mexican Madonna," entered her plea Monday in Glendale Municipal Court to one count of being under the influence of cocaine, prosecutors said.
The 27-year-old singer from Encino was among four people arrested by Glendale police June 13 at the Days Inn, 450 W. Pioneer Drive. Charges were not filed against the other three because of lack of evidence.
If convicted, Hernandez could be sentenced to up to a year in County Jail, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence McGrail said. Municipal Court Commissioner Daniel Calabro ordered the singer to return to court Sept. 10 at which time a judge will determine whether she is eligible for a drug education program. If Hernandez were to complete such a program, prosecutors would agree to drop the charge, McGrail said.
Investigators said they went to the hotel after department store employees delivering clothes to Hernandez's hotel room told police that they suspected drug activity inside. Based on a field test, "it appeared that she was under the influence," said Police Sgt. Mario Marchman. A vial containing a white substance tested positive for cocaine, police said.
Hernandez first appeared on the Latino music scene in 1984 with her album, "Sin El," which sold more than a million copies in America, Mexico and South America.