WALLA WALLA -- Formal charges were filed Thursday afternoon in Superior Court relating to this week's reported discovery of a large methamphetamine lab at the Walla Walla Vineyard Inn.
Clifford E. Chew, 56, is accused of three felonies including manufacture of methamphetamine, possessing pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture meth and possession of the controlled substance with intent to deliver.
Officials say Chew is a career criminal with a history of more than 35 felony arrests and convictions.
Also charged was the motel's manager, Dena R. Turner -- who is accused of complicity to the manufacturing of meth -- for allegedly aiding and abetting Chew.
Police say they received credible information Chew was manufacturing meth in room 106 of the Vineyard Inn, 325 E. Main St.
A search warrant was obtained and the SWAT Team forced entry into the room about 6 p.m. Wednesday. Chew escaped out the back door, but was apprehended nearby, officials said.
Officers reportedly recovered many items used to manufacture meth, in addition to the finished product. Containers with tubing and copper rods, chemicals, coffee filters, five boxes of Sudafed pills and digital scales were among items allegedly seized from the room.
The lab reportedly is one of the largest ever discovered in Walla Walla County.
Turner, 37, allegedly allowed Chew to store four 64-ounce bottles of ammonia in a freezer in her room near the main office.
She also gave Chew her master key card allowing access to several other units, failed to register him as a guest and didn't collect money from him, according to a police report filed in court.
Chew, who reportedly lives in Pendleton, and Turner were arrested and booked into the Walla Walla County Jail. Bail for each was set at $75,000.
Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.