Singer denies drug charge

DOWNTOWN — A 21-year-old pop singer for the group Girlicious pleaded not guilty Thursday to a drugs-sales charge stemming from her March 9 arrest when Glendale police reportedly found more than a dozen small packages of cocaine in her purse.

Natalie Mejia appeared with her attorneys in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale to answer to one felony count of possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Superior Court Judge Lesley Green ordered her to report to the Los Angeles County Probation Department on Monday and to appear April 28 in Burbank Superior Court for a preliminary hearing setting.

Calls to her attorneys went unreturned.

Mejia and Burbank resident Peter Asencio, 28, were arrested March 9 after a Glendale police officer stopped his Ford Mustang for speeding at Victory Boulevard and Winchester Avenue just before it got onto the Ventura (134) Freeway, police said.

After the pair had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen in Burbank, they rushed to get to Los Angeles International Airport because she was late for a flight, police said.

Mejia, a Diamond Bar resident, and her group were scheduled to perform that week in Toronto.

During the traffic stop, police discovered that Asencio’s driver’s license was suspended, so they searched the car, officials said.

That’s when they allegedly found the small baggies of cocaine in Mejia’s Gucci purse during the search.

Mejia was a contestant on the 2008 CW reality show, “Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious,” beating out other contestants to become a member of the all-girl group.

Asencio told police that he put the drugs in her purse in an attempt hide them and didn’t think her purse would be searched, police said, but both were arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine for sale.

Mejia posted bail the next day.

Asencio pleaded not guilty to the charges March 11 in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale, court officials said. Asencio was released March 17 on a $55,000 bond.

He is scheduled to appear April 26 in Burbank Superior Court for a preliminary hearing, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

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