Los Angeles, California - A West Hollywood man was found guilty by a federal jury Tuesday of nine felonies, including that he provided fatal doses of methamphetamine to two men who died at his apartment after being injected with the drug.
Edward Buck, 66, was found 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.
According to evidence presented at his nine-day trial, beginning no later than 2011 and continuing through September 2019, Buck engaged in a pattern of “party and play,” or soliciting men to consume narcotics that he provided and perform sexual activities at his apartment. In these party-and-play sessions, Buck distributed drugs, including methamphetamine, and, in some instances, injected victims with drugs intravenously in a practice known as “slamming.”
Buck solicited his victims in various ways, including using social media platforms, dating and escort websites, or via referrals from his prior victims, including individuals he hired to do other work for him, offering a finder’s fee for referrals.
Buck exerted power and control over his victims, typically targeting individuals who were destitute, homeless or struggling with drug addiction. 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.
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 expected and sometimes injected victims while they were unconscious.
If a victim was not interested in using drugs, or used less than Buck wanted him to use, Buck refused to pay the person or reduced the person’s pay. Ultimately, if a victim refused to use methamphetamine too many times, Buck would lose interest and would no longer hire the person to party and play.
On two occasions, Buck’s party-and-play fetish turned lethal. Gemmel Moore died on July 27, 2017, and Timothy Dean died on January 7, 2019. Both victims suffered fatal methamphetamine overdoses in Buck’s apartment.
These deaths failed to deter Buck from continuing to distribute methamphetamine, and he 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.
United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder will schedule a sentencing hearing at a later date, at which time Buck will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison. Buck is currently in federal custody in this case.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, 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 are prosecuting this case.