1998 - Gilligan's Island star Dawn Wells has gone into hiding since being caught up in the scandal surrounding co-star Bob Denver's pot bust. STAR has learned that Wells, who played coconut pie-baking Mary Ann in the legendary '60s sitcom, disappeared from her Los Angeles home and hired a criminal lawyer after her name was dragged into an investigation of a drug ring spanning three states.
"She's totally stressed out," said her attorney, Donald J. Calabria. "She's a nice lady being punished right now."
Narcotics cops say they found 16 canceled checks made out to Wells for amounts ranging from $340 to $700 when they raided Denver's Princeton, W. Va.,home on June 4. The raid came after the officers were tipped of that a package containing marijuana had been mailed to Denver.
"When Denver's house was being searched, the checkbook was found and the amounts were written in, in the amount that the marijuana had cost," Detective Kevin Compton told STAR.
"If Wells was charged and convicted in West Virginia," he added, "she would receive 16 felony counts of conspiracy to delivery marijuana, earning one to five years in prison for each count."
Denver told cops that Wells has been his supplier since 1995, according to one well placed police source.
According to the source, Wells ordered two packages of pot - one to be sent to Denver and one for herself at her Toluca Lake, Calif., home fro a Pueblo, Colo., drug house in June. A drug-sniffing dog caught a whiff of the weed - and police intercepted the suspicious parcels.
When 63 year old ex-sit-com star Denver opened his door, an undercover cop dressed as a Fed Ex delivery man dropped off the 1.25 ounce package of pot. An unsuspecting Denver signed for it - signaling a team of six cops to move in with their search warrant.
Wells, the 54 year old former Gilligan's Island actress - turned cookbook author, freaked out when she learned of Denver's arrest, insiders say.
She immediately hired Calabria as her lawyer, changed her answering machine tape, and left town.
Her attorney maintains she's innocent.
"Dawn and Bob have been friends for 35 to 40 years now," he said, adding they are friends and have business dealing.
He claims Dawn is ready to talk to authorities. "No one has even approached us," he said.
"The allegations are totally unfounded and untrue."
But police in Wells' California community say that even if the allegations were true, the amount of pot involved was not enough to bother with.
"We'd cooperate, but there's really not alot to go on," said a Los Angeles detective. "We deal in thousands of kilos of cocaine at a time It's ludicrous to think that we're going to mobilize a team of 10 cops to stake out Wells' home for less than an ounce of pot."
Denver, when he appears for a scheduled Sept. 3 court date, faces a minimum of six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine on misdemeanor drug charges.