LOS ANGELES – Edward Buck, a businessman and long-time figure of West Hollywood politics, was sentenced today to 360 months in federal prison for providing fatal doses of methamphetamine to two men who died at his apartment after he injected them with the drug.
Buck, 67, was sentenced by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder, who said. A restitution hearing in this case is scheduled for May 16.
At the conclusion of a nine-day trial in July 2021, a federal jury found Buck guilty of two counts of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, and two counts of enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.
Beginning no later than 2011 and continuing through September 2019, Buck engaged in a pattern of “party and play,” in which he solicited men – some of whom were homeless or struggling with drug addiction – to consume narcotics that he provided and perform sexual activities at his apartment, a ritual that prosecutors argued was “more than a fetish – it was a lethal and unchecked pattern of reckless disregard for human life.”
In these party-and-play sessions, Buck distributed drugs, including methamphetamine, GHB (the “date rape” drug), and clonazepam. In some instances, Buck injected victims with drugs intravenously in a practice known as “slamming.”
He exploited the wealth and power balance between himself and his victims by offering them money to use drugs.
Buck solicited his victims in various ways, including using social media platforms, dating and escort websites, or via referrals from his prior victims, to whom he offered finder’s fees.
Once the men were at his apartment, Buck prepared syringes containing methamphetamine, sometimes personally injecting the victims with or without their consent. Buck also injected victims with more narcotics than they agreed to take, and sometimes he injected victims while they were unconscious. At trial, victims described how Buck put sedatives in their drinks or in the injections, causing them to lose consciousness or control over their bodies. While they were unconscious, Buck sexually assaulted his victims.
On two occasions, Buck’s party-and-play fetish turned lethal. Buck killed Gemmel Moore with a lethal dose of methamphetamine on July 27, 2017, and then he killed Timothy Dean with a lethal dose of methamphetamine on January 7, 2019.
These deaths failed to deter him from continuing to distribute methamphetamine, and Buck continued distributing the drug to additional victims, including a man who overdosed twice in Buck’s apartment but survived after receiving immediate medical treatment.
Buck also enticed individuals to travel to California from other states for the purpose of engaging in prostitution through party-and-play sessions. Buck purchased a plane ticket for Moore, who had moved to Texas, so Moore could travel to Los Angeles in July 2017 to party and play at Buck’s apartment. In September 2018, Buck similarly purchased a plane ticket for another victim to fly from Iowa to Los Angeles.
Buck has been in federal custody in this case since his arrest in September 2019.
“This defendant preyed upon vulnerable victims – men who were drug-dependent and often without homes – to feed an obsession that led to death and misery,” said United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Buck continues to pose a clear danger to society, as evidenced by him continuing to lure men to his apartment, even after he killed two men with lethal methamphetamine injections. The sentence imposed today will protect other potential victims and hopefully will bring some solace to the families of two men who needlessly died in Mr. Buck’s apartment.”
“We fight every day, with every drug-related case, to bring justice to the victims and their families,” said DEA Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “Individuals who knowingly distribute lethal drugs and use them to prey on vulnerable victims will be relentlessly pursued and held accountable. Today’s sentencing illustrates the tireless efforts by investigators and prosecutors to hold predators responsible for their actions.”
“Ed Buck preyed on young black males who were vulnerable, isolated and were often fighting addiction,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The evidence showed that Buck, in addition to causing the death of two men, also degraded his victims with racial slurs and exploited their circumstances, including homelessness and addiction, to indulge his sexual proclivities. This sentence will effectively remove a predator and hopefully deliver a degree of justice to the families of the victims.”
“As the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, I stand with the victims of crime,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “This has been a long and very thorough investigation which began with our Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau. Investigators worked tirelessly to put together a fileable case which was ultimately presented to the United States Attorney’s Office. Collectively, Homicide Bureau, with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, the investigation continued. I am especially thankful to the prosecuting Assistant United States Attorneys for their commitment to seek justice for the victims and their families.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles Field Division, the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Chelsea Norell of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Lindsay Bailey of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section prosecuted this case.