Hearing reveals details of Auburn man charged with trafficking d - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Stephen Howard Affidavit by Tanita A. Gaither

========================================================================================================================== -->

Hearing reveals details of Auburn man charged with trafficking date rape drug

MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday an Auburn University lab tech arrested for selling date rape drugs is a danger to society and will remain in federal custody.

The ruling was made Wednesday at Stephen Howard's detention and probable cause hearing. The judge also decided there was enough evidence to send the case to the grand jury.

Inside the Montgomery federal courthouse, U.S attorneys won their first battle in court against 64-year-old Stephen Howard when the judge ordered him to be detained without bond while he awaits trial.

Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel had some strong words for the suspect. While stating his reasons for denying bond, he accused the Auburn University lab tech of being a rapist. The judge also said Howard had caused others to become rapists by selling this date rape substance.

"If you were in the courtroom today, I believe you would leave with the distinct understanding he is a danger to our community. He is a danger to our women and daughters. He is now detained and we will do everything we can to keep him detained," said Verne Spiers, Assistant United States Attorney.

No date has been set for the next court proceedings. To read the full affidavit, click here.

Howard, an Auburn University chemistry lab tech in the Poly Fiber Engineering Department, was arrested on May 22 at his home on Lee Road 2149 near Loachapoka High School - after a six month federal investigation. The indictment alleges Howard used his AU license to purchase 1.4 Butanediol, a legal analogue of GHB, then sold more than a gallon of the date rape drug liquid, to undercover agents.

Video and audio of the alleged buys between Howard and the undercover agent were played in court. On May 7, Howard allegedly sold 20 ounces for $200 in the parking lot of the Auburn Walmart.

On May 14, Howard sold 100 ounces for $1,000 to the undercover at the South College Burger King. During the May 14 recording, Howard describes having sexual relations with three or four women who later passed out afterward using the drug.

Howard also told the undercover he was so angry with two women, he was going to shave their heads Nazi-style, carve obscenities into their bodies with X-Acto knife and use ink to tattoo the words. Howard also showed the agent his pistol, and referred to his 12-gauge shotgun as "The (N-word) cutter."

The indictment alleges Howard also spoke about his drug use with the undercover agent, saying he liked to use meth, marijuana and sometimes the date rape liquid, to help him sleep.

Investigators say Howard invited the undercover over to his home and told him to invite some girls, saying they could do drugs and party. It appears, the party never happened.

The indictment alleges Howard told the undercover officer he had all the chemicals at his AU lab needed to make meth, but that he was scared to do it. The agent is alleged to have told Howard he would like to buy some meth and Howard tells him it will take three days to make it, and he is considering it.

Howard's defense attorney says Howard was just shooting off at the mouth, saying his client had never been in any real legal trouble, besides a DUI conviction. Prosecutors disagree and are pleased Howard remains in federal custody.

"Our community will not tolerate the abuse of its daughters. I will tell you this, every single investigators working on this will not tire and will not falter to find victims in this case and we ask anyone who believes they may have been dosed or been abused to call the Auburn police department and report that," Spiers said.

So far, Auburn police have not located any potential victims who may have been given the date rape drug. However, they say this investigation is far from over. More charges and more people could be arrested in this case.

An Auburn University spokesperson confirmed that Howard began working for Auburn back in 2004. In light of recent developments, AU is evaluating Howard's employment status. Howard will remain in federal custody, as his case was bound over to a grand jury. A potential trial could take place in six months.

Those who believe they may have been victims of an incident involving the date rape drug are asked to call the Auburn Police Department investigative line at (334)-501-3410.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly