WAYNESBORO — The trial of a man suspected of distributing methamphetamine near an elementary school in Waynesboro was delayed Friday after the suspect said he wanted a new lawyer.
Aaron Graves, the attorney for Guadalupe Chavez-Loya, 42, of Waynesboro, told Judge Charles Ricketts III that he was withdrawing from the case at the request of his client.
Ricketts asked Chavez-Loya through an interpretor if he could afford to hire a new lawyer, and the defendant said he could. Ricketts told the defendant he knew of a lawyer who could take the case if necessary. Another hearing is set for Aug. 23 to determine if a lawyer has been selected.
Friday’s delay came two days after Chavez-Loya backed out of an agreement to plead to possession with intent to distribute meth, a deal that would have netted him a 22-year jail sentence. By going to trial, Chavez-Loya risks spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
Following his arrest last year, he was charged with intent to distribute methamphetamine while engaged in an ongoing criminal enterprise and possession with intent to distribute 200 grams or more of meth.
The Mexican native was taken into custody after Waynesboro police and the Skyline Drug Task Force searched two apartments at 720 King Ave., located just a few hundred yards from William Perry Elementary School.
Police found $38,000 in cash and a pound of meth in a secret compartment in the wall of a closet. Police also seized a 2006 Chevrolet Impala worth $3,500.
Authorities said Chavez-Loya is an illegal immigrant, who has used his connections in his home country to establish “a robust supply chain” of drugs.