Ex-Huey Lewis Bassist Mario Cipollina Pleads Not Guilty to Drug Charges

Mario Cipollina, a founding member of Huey Lewis & the News, has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of heroin and methamphetamine possession, court officials said.

Cipollina, 51, who played bass in the band, entered the plea Monday. He was being held in the Marin County jail without bail because the charges violated the terms of his probation for previous felony burglary and petty theft convictions, said Deputy District Attorney Linda Witong.

Cipollina was due back in court Aug. 21. He could face more than four years in prison if convicted, Witong said.

Sheriff's investigators allegedly found small amounts of the drugs in Cipollina's pocket during a random probation search at his home in Santa Venetia, said Sgt. Jerry Jones.

His probation stemmed from an August 2004 arrest for stealing about $5,500 worth of radio control cars from a San Anselmo store. While searching his residence, police allegedly found two automatic weapons, including an M-60 machine gun. Felony gun possession charges were later dismissed.

In September 1996, he was arrested after Novato police said they found heroin, methamphetamine, a knife and a revolver in his possession during a traffic stop.

Huey Lewis & the News had a string of hits in the 1980s, including "The Power of Love" and "I Want a New Drug."

Cipollina left the band in 1994.