California

Democratic donor arrested in LA; ran ‘drug den,’ prosecutors allege

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2010 file photo Ed Buck makes a campaign appearance for Meg Whitman, not shown, then a Republican candidate for governor of California, in Los Angeles. The prominent California Democratic donor, Buck, has been charged Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, with running a drug house where two men died of overdoses. Prosecutors allege Buck provided the meth that killed two men who were found in his apartment in 2017 and this January. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2010 file photo Ed Buck makes a campaign appearance for Meg Whitman, not shown, then a Republican candidate for governor of California, in Los Angeles. The prominent California Democratic donor, Buck, has been charged Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, with running a drug house where two men died of overdoses. Prosecutors allege Buck provided the meth that killed two men who were found in his apartment in 2017 and this January. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File) AP

A prominent Democratic donor and activist accused of running a drug den out of his West Hollywood apartment where a man overdosed last week on methamphetamine and where two other men have died since 2017 is a criminal predator, Los Angeles’ district attorney said in filing felony charges Tuesday.

“I remain deeply concerned for the safety of people whose life circumstances may make them more vulnerable to criminal predators,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement released by her office Tuesday. “With this new evidence, I authorized the filing of criminal charges against Ed Buck.”

Edward Buck, 65, was led away from his apartment in handcuffs Tuesday night. Prosecutors allege Buck used his “position of power” to draw his homeless, drug-addicted victims to his apartment and manipulate them, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing court records

The latest allegations follow the deaths of two men, 26-year-old Gemmell Moore in 2017; and a second man, Timothy Dean, 55, in January of this year.

Coroner’s officials originally ruled Moore’s 2017 death accidental, but Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives later reopened the case after Dean’s death in January.

Lacey’s office will recommend bail be set at $4 million when Buck faces a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Wednesday on charges suspicion of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house out of his apartment.

It was at the home on Sept. 11 where a 37-year-old overdosed after Buck allegedly injected him with the drug. The man survived.

The Sept. 11 incident was the man’s second close call in the space of a week, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing prosecutors’ court filings. Prosecutors allege Buck dosed the man with dangerous amounts of meth on Sept. 4 before the man was able to escape the apartment and call 911, the Times reported.

Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.
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