A disgraced Democratic donor was convicted on July 27 of nine federal counts following the fatal overdoses of two Black gay men in his West Hollywood apartment.
Ed Buck, a 66-year-old political fundraiser who once served in a leadership role in his local Stonewall Democratic Club, was found guilty of multiple charges, including two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved home, and two counts of enticement to travel in interstate commerce for sex work, California prosecutors said in a press release on July 27.
This conviction comes after Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old Black man, died from an overdose in July 2017 while in Buck’s home. Timothy Dean, 55, faced a similar fatality in 2019 after being injected at Buck’s apartment. Like many of Buck’s victims, Moore was flown out from Texas to Los Angeles, California, to join his sex and drug den, which prosecutors describe in reports as a “party and play.”
Much of Buck’s predatory behavior is explored even further in Moore’s journal entries that came to light after his death.
“I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” Moore wrote in one entry. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection.”
Moore added, “I pray that I can just get my life together and make sense. I help so many people but can’t seem to help myself. I honestly don’t know what to do… I just hope the end result isn’t death.”
“Buck exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting individuals who were destitute, homeless, or struggling with drug addiction,” prosecutors wrote in a press release. “He exploited the wealth and power balance between them by offering his victims money to use drugs and to let Buck inject them with narcotics.”
The tipping point for the investigation came in September 2019 when Buck was arrested after another man was injected with meth and overdosed in his home. The man had been in the house for weeks and vacated the area once he noticed that Buck had “personally and deliberately” drugged him until he overdosed, prosecutors said. When the victim fled the scene, he called 911 and was taken to a hospital.
Jasmyne Cannick, an activist and journalist, worked tirelessly to bring Buck to justice and hold him accountable for his crimes.
“I hope that Black gay men everywhere know that it doesn’t matter if they’re sex workers, escorts, gay, HIV-positive, poor, unhoused, or even addicted to meth — their life matters,” Cannick wrote in a tweet after Buck was convicted. “Your life matters. We’re on each other’s teams. And you know.”
Buck is now being held in federal custody. He faces anywhere from 20 years to life in federal prison, prosecutors said.
To sign up for the Gay City News email newsletter, visit gaycitynews.com/newsletter.