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A Laurens man with a lengthy history of manufacturing methamphetamines will spend the next 17 years behind bars after being found guilty at trial of manufacturing and possessing meth, 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Wednesday.

Ronald Jeffrey Eaton, 52, was found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamines, third offense, and possession of methamphetamines, third offense, late Tuesday afternoon by a Laurens County jury following a day-and-a-half trial and less than an hour of deliberation.

Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee then sentenced Eaton to 17 years in prison on the charge of manufacturing methamphetamines, third offense, and 10 years in prison on the charge of possession of methamphetamines, third offense, with the sentences to be served concurrently.

Eaton has a length criminal history, including multiple past meth-related convictions.

In March 2018, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was actively investigating Eaton and a meth-cooking operation at a property on Bobcat Drive where Eaton had his camper parked. The camper was abruptly moved and, shortly thereafter, a tipster reported that Eaton was cooking meth at a property on Boyd Road. Investigators confirmed with Eaton’s probation agent that Eaton had not reported the change in address.

Investigators went to the property on Boyd Road and discovered Eaton’s camper in the woods with Eaton inside. Investigators obtained a search warrant and discovered the remnants of a broken-down, one-pot meth cooking operation. Investigators were able to establish a timeline showing that Eaton had been manufacturing methamphetamines since his release from prison on a previous manufacturing charge.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Margaret Boykin handled the case for the state, with the assistance of 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley. Eaton was represented by Dorothy Manigault of the Greenville County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff, along with narcotics investigators Sgt. Matt Veal and Inv. Charles Nations of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

Drug addiction continues to plague our society in the new millennium,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the trial. “While we recognize that it is only part of the solution, Sheriff (Don) Reynolds and I are pleased to see a lifelong meth cook and dealer like Ronnie Eaton sent to prison for a long time to come, and we will continue our commitment to stopping anyone pushing destructive drugs in our community.”