Silver Spring Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison For Drug Trafficking

Defendant Marketed Date Rape Drug

July 23, 2009

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Steven Hess, age 41, of Silver Spring, Maryland today to 14 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute 1,4-butanediol, a controlled substance analogue, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. A controlled substance analogue is a substance that has chemically similar properties and effects on the human body as a controlled substance. The drug in this case was an analogue to GHB, commonly known as a date rape drug.

“Mr. Hess’ sentencing today reflects the gravity of the crime,” stated Ava Cooper-Davis, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “Although substances like 1,4 butanediol are not as frequently discussed as being substances of abuse, its use is just as dangerous and the consequences as severe.”

According to his guilty plea, Montgomery County police officers began investigating reports of persons coming in and out, at all hours of the day and night, of the residence of Hess and co-defendant Mark Hawkins. On January 5, 2007, police officers searched both the residence and a self-storage unit in Silver Spring rented by Hess and Hawkins, where they seized 86.32 liters of 1,4-butanediol and 124.7 liters of gamma butyrolactone. Portions of these liquid chemicals had been placed in plastic drinking bottles and dyed blue using food coloring for the purpose of distributing the chemicals to other persons for human consumption.

Mark Anthony Hawkins, age 26, of Silver Spring, pleaded guilty to the same offense and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for August 12, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan C. Su and Barbara S. Skalla, who prosecuted the case.



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