Auburn University employee arrested for selling date rape drug
At the end of May, Auburn University chemistry lab technician Stephen Howard was arrested following a six-month-long undercover investigation of his involvement in selling a date-rape drug.
The College of Engineering employee is charged with the “treatment of controlled substance analogues, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime” according to AL.com.
The university’s official statement, sent via email to Campus Reform, clarified that, “Auburn University is not a subject of this investigation but has been fully cooperating with all law enforcement officials. The university is evaluating Mr. Howard’s employment status in light of the information announced earlier this week.”
During the investigation, Howard sold two undercover agents 20 ounces and one gallon, respectively, of a liquid proven to be Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), commonly known as the date-rape drug. Lab tests confirmed that the liquid sold was 1, 4-butanediol which, when ingested, converts to GHB.
GHB is known to incapacitate women. Howard told an undercover agent that probably “five different girls pass[ed] out on him” while using the substance.
Authorities report that Howard used Auburn’s license to buy the drugs, but he paid for them on his own.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) obtained warrants to search Howard’s home and his office at the university. Agents uncovered a handgun and sawed-off shotgun during that search.
Clark Morris, First Assistant at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Montgomery, Alabama, told Campus Reform that a confidential informant gave information about Howard’s illegal activity to the Auburn Police Department, which initiated the investigation.
“Auburn University was not aware of the investigation until a couple of days prior to arresting Howard,” Morris said. According to Morris, the school couldn’t know about the investigation or the undercover agents for security reasons.
The investigation is ongoing. Howard’s first court date will be held this week.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BethanySalgado