Democratic donor Ed Buck indicted on drug charges

Democratic donor Ed Buck has been indicted by a federal grand jury on narcotics distribution offenses, including two counts of distributing methamphetamine resulting in death, according to prosecutors.

The prominent 65-year-old donor was named this week in a five-count indictment that alleges Buck provided meth to Gemmel Moore, who overdosed on the drug and died on July 27, 2017. He also allegedly provided the drug to Timothy Dean, who suffered a fatal overdose in Buck’s Los Angeles area apartment on Jan. 7, 2019.

Each charge alleging distribution of narcotics resulting in death carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life without parole.

Buck is also accused of three counts of distributing meth in May 2018, December 2018 and last month. Each of those charges carries a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.

There was no immediate response from Buck’s attorney.

The defendant allegedly “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment” — a practice described as “party and play,” according to the indictment. The victims were allegedly solicited on social media, including a gay dating website, and a recruiter was sued to scout and proposition men.

“Buck exerted power over his victims, often targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless or struggled with drug addiction, in order to exploit the relative wealth and power imbalance between them,” the indictment said.

In his apartment, Buck allegedly prepared syringes with meth and injected some of the victims with or without their consent, according to the indictment.

Moore’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit in February. It described Buck as a wealthy white man who “had a predatory and injurious system of soliciting Black men and watching them cling to life.”

Moore and Dean were black.

The lawsuit accused Buck of wrongful death, sexual battery and assault, and said he had not yet been prosecuted “because he is white, and because Mr. Moore was Black.”

Now that charges have been brought against Buck, Moore and Dean’s loved ones said their work has paid off.

“It’s been two-plus long years of fighting for justice for my community — the Black LGBTQ community. It’s been two years of hearing we would never see this day,” said Jasmyne Cannick, an advocate for the Victims of Ed Buck. “Let this be a warning to all of the other Ed Buck’s creeping around West Hollywood, Los Angeles County and throughout America — we’re coming for you too.”

Dean’s sister, Joann Campbell, thanked the detectives who worked hard as the family pressed them to work harder and warned Buck: “You will never hurt and cause harm to another family.”

Other overdose charges

Buck also faces state charges for allegedly injecting a 37-year-old man with meth at his West Hollywood apartment on Sept. 11, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The man overdosed but survived.

Other state charges against Buck include a count of operating a drug house filed last month by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Buck is being held in federal custody without bond, with the federal case proceeding first.

Buck has donated to a number of Democratic candidates and PACs in recent years, according to information from OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in US politics. Recipients rushed to return Buck’s money after Dean’s death.