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Auburn Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing the Date Rape Drug

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

steven-k-howardOn Wednesday, October 28, United States Attorney George L. Beck Jr. announced that Stephen K. Howard, 64 of Auburn, Alabama, pleaded guilty today to three counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analogue (1-4 butanediol) and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

When ingested, 1-4 butanediol has the same effect on the body as gamma-hydroxybutric acid (GHB), commonly known as the “date rape” drug.

The investigation revealed that Howard unlawfully used his position as a lab technician at Auburn University to order the butanediol, or date rape drug, from the manufacturer.  Howard then sold the date rape drug to an undercover officer on two occasions and stored large amounts of the drug in his Auburn residence.  Howard denies that he personally distributed any butanediol to Auburn University students.

US Attorney George L. Beck Jr. said, “Those who take advantage of young girls by doping them unconscious are disgusting and repulsive.  Rape by force or mental incapacity is a serious crime that warrants harsh prosecution.  Those who make or sell drugs used to rape by mental incapacity are equally as guilty.”

Auburn Police Captain Will Mathews said, “This was a case in which a person was poisoning our community with illicit chemicals. The Auburn Police Division solicited assistance from ALEA, FBI, DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this criminal to answer for his crime. It was very successful.”

The Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Spencer Collier said, “State Bureau of Investigation Narcotics Agents worked closely with our federal and local partners during the course of this investigation.  We will continue to collaborate with these law enforcement agencies as we combat the unlawful production and distribution of illegal drugs in Alabama.”

Special Agent in Charge of FBI, Mobile Field Division., Robert F. Lasky said, “Those who profit from the victimization of innocent people should take notice of this case and know that law enforcement will not tolerate or sit idly while they engage in cowardly conduct and predatory behavior.”

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Assistant Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Clay Morris said, “The cooperation experienced in this case was extraordinary and shows what can be accomplished through teamwork.  This teamwork took a seller of a date rape drug, a predator, off the street.  We at DEA are committed to continuing the efforts to keep our streets safe from this type predator.”

Howard could face up 20 years in prison, receive a fine of $1,000,000 fine, and serve a term of supervised release at least 3 years for the date rape drug alone.  The methamphetamine charge could potentially mean imprisonment of up to 1 year and a minimum fine of $1,000.

This case is a joint investigation of the Auburn Police Department, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Verne Speirs and Jonathan Ross.

The use of date rape drugs is becoming increasingly common.  According to the website drugabuse.gov if you are at a party you should pour all drinks yourself and never leave them unattended (even if you have to take them into the bathroom with you) so people can’t slip something into your drink.  Also be sure to stick with your friends, there’s safety in numbers.

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,697 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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