Trial delayed in meth lab case

Clifford E. Chew is accused of making the drug at the Walla Walla Vineyard Inn.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man scheduled for trial this month for allegedly operating a large methamphetamine lab at the Walla Walla Vineyard Inn now is slated to face a jury in December.

The proceedings for Clifford E. Chew, 56, were set to begin Oct. 18 in Walla Walla County Superior Court, but now are scheduled to start Dec. 19.

Chew is charged with manufacture of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school bus route stop, possessing pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture meth and possession of the controlled substance with intent to deliver.

This is the third postponement of the trial, initially set to be held in July.

Police said they recovered many items used to manufacture meth -- in addition to the finished product -- when they served a search warrant May 18 in room 106 of the Vineyard Inn, 325 E. Main St., allegedly occupied by Chew.

The lab reportedly was one of the largest ever discovered in Walla Walla County. But Chew's attorney, Jim Barrett, maintains there was no methamphetamine being manufactured.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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