Bieber's friend Lil Za granted bail after police search
Anthony McCartney, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:56AM EST
CALABASAS, Calif. -- Detectives searched Justin Bieber's home looking for surveillance footage that might serve as evidence the pop star was involved in an egg-tossing vandalism case that caused thousands of dollars in damage to a neighbour's home, an official said Tuesday.
Roughly a dozen investigators searched Bieber's home and arrested one member of the singer's entourage on suspicion of drug possession, Lt. David Thompson said.
The drug, which was initially described as cocaine but was later being tested to determine its contents, was in plain sight when detectives searched Bieber's house, Thompson said.
The arrested man was later identified as Lil Za, a rapper whose real name is Xavier Smith.
After being taken to jail, Smith had felony vandalism added to his potential charges and had his bail increased from $20,000 to $70,000 when he damaged a phone on the wall as he was awaiting a bail bondsman, said Lt. Michael Williams of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.
Smith was released on bail at about 8:15 p.m., Williams said.
Phone listings for Smith, his representative or relatives could not be found, and sheriff's officials did not know if he had hired an attorney.
Bieber, 19, was at the home and co-operated with authorities but was not interviewed by detectives. Thompson said he expected the singer to speak with detectives when his attorney could be present.
"He has not been arrested, nor has he been exonerated," Thompson said of Bieber.
Thompson declined to describe what evidence detectives took from Bieber's home, but said the emphasis wasn't on what was in the pop star's refrigerator.
He said the house Bieber allegedly egged had custom wood and other expensive features and that several thousands of dollars in damage occurred. Thompson added that a judge authorized the search warrant.
"I get that the eggs don't seem that significant, but it does rise to the level of a felony," Thompson said. "There is a victim in this case who has extensive damage done to their home. And that's a serious incident."
The singer lives in a gated community in Calabasas, a celebrity enclave about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Four helicopters hovered over the neighbourhood hours after the warrant was served.
An email message sent to Bieber's publicist, Melissa Victor, was not immediately returned.
Previous investigations into Bieber's conduct by the sheriff's department have not resulted in charges.
In October, prosecutors declined to charge Bieber after a neighbour complained he drove recklessly through the area. Prosecutors in November 2012 also declined to charge the singer after a paparazzo accused him of punching and hitting him after leaving a Calabasas movie theatre.
Neighbours have complained about Bieber and his friends' behaviour, but Thompson said the warrant wasn't served to send a message to the singer, but that might be one result of the search.
"We didn't do this search warrant to send a message, that's not what we do," Thompson said. "But we hope maybe understanding the gravity of this will change some of the behaviour."