An ex-Auburn University lab tech who used his position to order and distribute a date-rape drug will spend 8½ years in federal prison.
Judge Myron H. Thompson sentenced 64-year-old Stephen K. Howard of Auburn for possessing with intent to distribute a date rape drug, possessing methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.
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. Authorities say 1-4 butanediol has the same effect as gamma-hydroxybutric acid (GHB), the “date rape” drug. On Dec. 7, Howard pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.
Howard used his authority as a university lab technician to order the butanediol from the manufacturer, then twice sold it to an undercover officer while in his home storing large amounts of it along with some methamphetamine.
During one purchase, Howard brandished a firearm in front of the undercover officer.
"Those who take advantage of young girls by doping them unconscious are disgusting and repulsive,” U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. said in a news release. “Rape by force or mental incapacity is a serious crime that warrants harsh prosecution.”