A wealthy Democratic donor and political activist accused of trading drugs for sex has been indicted for the overdose deaths of two men at his West Hollywood home.
Ed Buck, 65, could face up to life behind bars if convicted.
There have been several overdoses at Buck's home that have made headlines in recent years. Gemmel Moore, 26, died there in July 2017 of a meth overdose. Then, this past January, Timothy Dean, 55, also fatally overdosed on meth in Buck’s home. And just last month, there was a third overdose in the same location but that unidentified 37-year-old man survived.
Just days after the third overdose incident, Buck was indicted in Moore's death and on Wednesday he was indicted for Dean’s. He’s now been charged with two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in death, a Wednesday press release by U.S. attorneys in Los Angeles states. Each of those two charges carries a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum penalty of life without parole.
The indictment alleges that Buck "engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck's apartment," and that he “exerted power over his victims, often targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless, and/or struggled with drug addiction, in order to exploit the relative wealth and power imbalance between them,” according to the press release.
Following the second fatal overdose in January, the Los Angeles LGBT Center put out a statement calling for a full investigation, stating “the fact is two black men have died at Mr. Buck’s home in less than two years.”
Buck, a former candidate for the West Hollywood City Council, is known in LGBTQ political circles.
In addition to the more serious charges, Buck has also been charged with three counts of distributing methamphetamine to other men over the past couple years. The original indictment accused Buck of either giving drugs or trying to give drugs to a dozen people in exchange for sex. He was previously charged for allegedly running a "drug den," according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office press release.
“From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office stated in a September bail recommendation motion obtained by Oxygen.com. “These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims.”
The press release put out Wednesday alleges that Buck sometimes injected “the victims with or without their consent” and that he “sometimes injected victims while they were unconscious.”
Buck is being held without bond. His attorney has denied that his client has anything to do with the deaths. Lawyer Seymour Amster previously told the Los Angeles Times regarding the death of Moore, “from what I know, it was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment. The person came over intoxicated."
Following news of Buck's charges, Dean’s sister Joann Campbell said in a statement: “My family is overjoyed with the news today. Ed Buck, you will never hurt and cause harm to another family,” KTLA reports.
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