Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that they’re charging Democratic donor and West Hollywood resident Ed Buck with “distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death” in connection with the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old man who overdosed in Buck’s apartment in 2017. Buck, who has been linked to several drug overdoses and deaths in recent years, will face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison if he is convicted, with a maximum sentence of life without parole.
The complaint, which was filed on Wednesday night following Buck’s arrest by state-level authorities on Tuesday, alleges that in addition to providing the methamphetamine that caused Moore’s death, Buck provided narcotics to “a series of other men,” including one who suffered two overdoses several weeks ago. It also addresses the demise of another man, 55-year-old Timothy Dean, who died of an overdose in Buck’s apartment earlier this year.
Accounts from ten of Buck’s alleged victims are cited in the document, with many claiming that Buck paid them to take drugs and do sexual favors for him. Some also describe being injected with additional drugs while asleep, or waking up with injuries to their person. In the compliant, the individual named as Victim 10, who suffered the two overdoses in September, claims that when he was living with Buck between July 29 and September 6, 2019, Buck would inject him with methamphetamine on “a near daily basis.”
Though Moore’s death was initially ruled an accident by the sheriff’s department, a new investigation was launched in 2017 after the victim’s mother and friends raised questions about whether the drugs were self-administered. In the years since, West Hollywood’s black LGBTQ community has called for the donor and one-time West Hollywood City Council candidate—who has donated thousands to democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—to be held accountable.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Ed Buck has connections to power and has been able to evade arrest,” said one speaker at a rally in West Hollywood following the death of Timothy Dean earlier this year.
Activist Jasmyne Cannick, who spearheaded the push to arrest Buck and has been tracking the comings and goings of his apartment with the help of other community members, has long criticized local authorities’ inaction on the case. “If another young, Black gay man overdoses or worse dies at Democratic donor Ed Buck’s apartment it’s going to be the fault of the sheriff’s dept and L.A. District Atty for not stopping him when they had the opportunity to,” she tweeted several months before Dean’s death.
The arraignment for Buck’s state charges, which include maintaining a drug house, battery causing serious injury, and administering methamphetamine, has been postponed until October 11.
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