A federal grand jury has indicted a California man on charges that he operated a drug den and administered lethal doses of narcotics that led to the overdose deaths of two black men and left a third man hospitalized.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California unsealed a five-count federal indictment alleging that 65-year-old Ed Buck “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment.” The charges accuse Buck of administering fatal doses of methamphetamine to 26-year-old Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old Timothy Dean, both of whom died in Buck’s West Hollywood, Calif., apartment. In September, an unnamed third man was hospitalized after Buck reportedly gave him two doses of narcotics.
NBC News reports that at least nine men have come forward to say that Buck gave them drugs or strongly encouraged them to ingest drugs in exchange for sex. The indictment also alleges that the wealthy tech entrepreneur used social media and a gay dating website to solicit men for sex. Once the men were at his apartment, Buck would inject the men with meth-filled syringes, with or without the victims’ consent, according to the complaint.
“Buck 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,” the indictment reads, noting that Buck often injected his prey with more narcotics than they expected, sometimes when they were unconscious.
Buck is charged with two counts of distributing methamphetamine that resulted in death, each of which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum penalty of life without parole. He also faces a maximum penalty of 20 years for three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
“It’s been two-plus long years of fighting for justice for my community—the black LGBTQ community,” said activist Jasmyne Cannick, who has been fighting to bring the Buck story to the attention of the media for two years. “This is a collective win for all black people. Our lives matter—even those lives who are the most vulnerable among us. Even the lives of survival sex workers, the homeless and those on drugs. 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.”
“This indictment is a beginning to acknowledging what Gemmel revealed to the world in his own words—over two years ago and after his death through his journal,” said Nana Gyamfi, attorney for both the Moore and Dean families. “Ed Buck was and is a killer, a torturer and a clear and present danger to black gay men, their families and communities.”
Buck is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Oct. 10.
He is being held without bail.