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Auburn Date Rape Drug Distributor Sentenced to Eight and One-Half Years

FEB 25 (MONTGOMERY, Ala.) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris and George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, announced today Stephen K. Howard, 64, of Auburn, Alabama, was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison for possessing with the intent to distribute a date rape drug, possessing methamphetamine, and for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The “date rape drug”, 1,4-Butanediol, seized from Stephen Howard pursuant to his arrest.
The “date rape drug”, 1,4-Butanediol, seized from Stephen Howard pursuant to his arrest.

On October 19, 2015, Howard pleaded guilty to three counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue (1-4 butanediol) and one count of possession of methamphetamine. When consumed, 1-4 butanediol has the same effect on the body as gamma-hydroxybutric acid (GHB), commonly known as the “date rape” drug.  On December 7, 2015, Howard pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. 

Howard was employed as a lab technician at Auburn University where he illegally used his position as a lab technician to order the butanediol, or date rape drug, from the manufacturer.  Howard then sold this date rape drug to an undercover officer on two occasions and stored large amounts of the drug and a small amount of methamphetamine in his Auburn residence.  During one of the purchases of the butanediol, Howard displayed and brandished a firearm to the undercover officer. 

“The DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to keeping our most vulnerable members of our communities safe from drug traffickers and predators,” stated Clay Morris, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge. “With outstanding law enforcement coordination and cooperation we were able to swiftly remove a dangerous person and remove the potential for him to harm others. The sentence handed down today should send a clear and resounding message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated.”

"Those who take advantage of young girls by doping them unconscious are disgusting and repulsive,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr.  “Rape by force or mental incapacity is a serious crime that warrants harsh prosecution.  Howard used the threat of a firearm to enforce the sale of his illegal date rape drug.  That makes him a violent criminal."

“I hope this case serves as an example to anyone who would consider manufacturing and or using any substance to take advantage of someone else,” stated Auburn Police Chief Paul Register.  “It is a good example of all levels of law enforcement working together with Auburn University to keep students and citizens safe.” 

“The reprehensible actions of the defendant showed a deep disregard towards the health and safety of young women in our community,” stated Robert F. Lasky, FBI Special Agent in Charge.   “His conviction and sentence serve to place all on notice that this type criminal activity will not be tolerated.” 

“State Bureau of Investigation Narcotics Agents worked closely with our federal and local partners during the course of this investigation,” said Acting Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler.  “We will continue to work as a team and collaborate with federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies to fight the unlawful production and distribution of illegal drugs in Alabama.”

This case is being investigated by the DEA, the Auburn Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.  


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