West Hollywood resident Ed Buck has been indicted in a second overdose death that had also occurred at his Laurel Avenue flat.
The U. S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury had indicted Buck for two overdose deaths and three additional counts of distributing methamphetamine, charging that he provided methamphetamine to three other men, one of whom survived two overdoses.
The indictment charged Buck with distributing meth resulting in the deaths of Timothy Dean, 55, in January of 2019 and Gemmel Moore, 26, in July of 2017. Buck had previously been charged in Moore’s death after his arrest last month by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and a LA County Deputy Sheriff-Investigator attached to a special Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force.
(Buck had) “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said in a statement.
The United States Attorney for the Central District of California, Nick Hanna, told reporters during a press conference held on Thursday September 19, that 65 year old Buck was charged in the death of Moore, who was declared dead after a drug overdose in Buck’s Laurel Avenue flat in July of 2017.
“The criminal complaint alleging Mr. Buck caused the death of Mr. Moore is supported by a 21-page affidavit that outlines a disturbing pattern of Mr. Buck soliciting men for sex in exchange for drugs and money,” Hanna said.
The complaint offers a disturbing view of Buck’s apparent fetish to inject men with meth during paid sexual encounters.
Hanna told reporters that investigators spoke to a man who had previously lived with Buck.
“This man said Mr. Buck injected him with methamphetamine almost daily. He experienced two overdoses that required hospitalization,” Hanna said.
An accompanying affidavit filed with the criminal complaint by a DEA agent stated ‘on some occasions that Buck rejected a partner’s refusal to take drugs and would inject them himself.’Hanna noted that Buck continued to solicit men for sex and drug use even after another man Timothy Dean, 55, died in January of this year in Buck’s flat.
Buck is already facing state charges of causing serious injury, by administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, filed by the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey last month.
Lacey who spoke at the September 19 press conference told reporters that the federal charge against Buck allowed for evidence to be used that was otherwise inadmissible for a first-degree murder charge under state law, which included testimony by Moore’s mother.
“For instance, we had to prove Mr. Buck intentionally injected someone, that was difficult given that no one came out of that alive,” Lacey said. “We had to prove that he did it with reckless indifference to life. We’d have to prove on a first-degree murder charge that he did it with the intent of murdering someone.”
The Los Angeles Times noted that local activists from the black and LGBTQ communities have spent years demanding Buck be held accountable for Moore’s and Dean’s deaths, and argued that local prosecutors and law enforcement leaders were uninterested in investigating the cases because of the backgrounds of Buck’s alleged victims, many of whom were sex workers, and “because Buck was a wealthy white man.”
The activists had repeatedly warned law enforcement and the LADA’s office that if Buck wasn’t stopped, others would die.
“I just wanted to thank everyone who played a part in getting this indictment, especially the feds for taking this case,” said Joann Campbell, Timothy Dean’s sister in an emailed statement to the LA Blade. “My family is overjoyed with the news today. We all are crying, but with joy. Special thanks to Detective Rodriguez for his continued fight and hard work on this case. We know it was difficult dealing with us pressing you the detectives to work harder. We appreciate their hard work. And to Ed Buck, you will never hurt and cause harm to another family. We are truly grateful!”
Five months after LADA Lacey’s office declined to bring charges in Moore’s death, Dean was found dead January 7 on the floor of Buck’s living room – the same place Moore died.
After considerable community outrage after the Dean’s death, including a call by the City Council of West Hollywood to thoroughly investigate both cases, the newly elected Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, ordered the Moore case reopened. In July of this year, U.S. Attorney Hanna’s office took over the case after LASD Homicide detectives approached the DEA Joint Task Force investigating opioid overdoses.
Buck, who has maintained his innocence-denying through his defense attorney responsibility for either man’s overdose, faces a minimum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted in either Moore’s or Dean’s deaths.
A federal magistrate ruled last Thursday that Buck was to remain jailed on a federal criminal complaint charging him with one count of distribution of methamphetamine which resulted in the death of Moore.
Prosecutors had asked in a motion to U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh in a federal detention hearing that Buck remain remain in custody citing his history and alleging that there was a potential danger to the community should he be released on bond. Buck through his appointed federal public defender did not contest the motion.
“I don’t see anything that would alleviate danger,” Walsh said as he approved ruling for the prosecution’s motion.
ABC7 Los Angeles noted less than a week after his Sept. 17 arrest, Buck’s landlord put an eviction notice on the door of his rent-controlled apartment. It cited his arrest on drug charges and the two overdose deaths.