Stephen K. Howard, a 64-year old Auburn resident who is employed as a lab technician at Auburn University, was arrested Friday, May 22, 2015 for selling large quantities of a “date rape” drug, announced George L. Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
According to court documents, Howard sold an undercover agent 20 ounces of a liquid substance used to incapacitate women. Shortly thereafter, another purchase was made from Howard for nearly a gallon of the same substance. During the second purchase, Howard showed the undercover agent that he had a handgun.
Following these purchases, lab tests confirmed that the liquid was in fact a controlled substance called 1,4-butanediol. When ingested, 1,4-butanediol is converted into Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), commonly known as a “date rape drug.” On May, 22, 2015, law enforcement executed search warrants at Howard’s office on Auburn’s campus, and at his home. Howard was arrested the same day.
A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Howard faces up to 20 years in prison for distribution of a controlled substance, and a possible 32 year sentence on charges for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
The case is being investigated by the Auburn Police Department, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Verne Speirs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to give special thanks to Auburn University for its support and cooperation in this matter.