In 2017, Gemmel Moore died from an apparent drug overdose inside of an apartment in West Hollywood. A few months later in January 2018, Timothy Dean died from an apparent overdose inside of a West Hollywood apartment. Earlier this month, a 37-year-old man survived an overdose in that same small apartment. Now the owner is under arrest and facing multiple criminal charges for his role in these events.
According to the man who overdosed by survived, Ed Buck, a notable democratic donor, injected him with an overdose of methamphetamine. Other victims interviewed by the police claim that Buck lured homeless men into his home with the promise of shelter and drugs.
However, things would take a grim turn once they got back to his apartment. Buck is accused of “manipulating his victims into participating into his sexual fetishes” and “supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics” to them.
Among other things, Ed Buck has been arrested and charged with administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
Methamphetamine Crimes in California
Methamphetamine is a seriously addictive and dangerous drug. It’s no surprise that California has tough methamphetamine drug laws on the books. Under Health and Safety Code Section 11379 HS, it is a crime to attempt to, offer to, or successfully:
- Import into the state
- Give away
Any schedule III, IV, or V Controlled Substances that’s not a narcotic. Methamphetamine falls into this category.
Buck is accused of administering methamphetamine to men he allegedly lured to his home. What does that mean? In California, administer means:
- Applying it directly to the body of another person by injection or by any other means, OR
- Causes the other person to inhale, ingest, or otherwise consume the substance.
In simpler terms, administering means causing another person to take a drug.
What’s the Penalty for Administering Methamphetamine in California?
Administering methamphetamine is a felony offense in California. If convicted, potential penalties include:
- Between two and four years in a California state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines, and
- Formal probation.
Probation can include community service, successful completion of drug and addiction counseling, and other requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Operating and Maintaining a Drug House
Buck isn’t just accused of administering methamphetamine to his guests. He’s also facing criminal charges for operating a drug house. In California, the law is clear. Under Health and Safety Code Section 11366 HS, it is a crime to “open or maintain any place for the purpose of unlawfully selling, giving away, or using” certain controlled substances. Methamphetamine is on the list of specified illicit drugs.
In order to be convicted for operating a drug house, the state will have to prove that Buck:
- Opened or maintained a place, AND
- Intended to sell, give away, or allow others to use a specific controlled substance on a repeated basis at that place.
In 2004, a California court explained that a person has to have a purpose “of continuously or repeatedly using a place for selling, giving away, or using a controlled substance” at a specific location. If drug use isn’t repeated or continuous, or if the defendant doesn’t intend for drug use to be repeated or continuous, it’s not a violation of 11366 HS.
Here, Buck is accused of luring at least 11 people back to his West Hollywood home. It’s believed that he intended that his home would be used as a location where people would frequent to use methamphetamine. If the state can prove this, he may face harsh penalties for the crime.
Is Maintaining a Drug House a Felony?
In California, maintaining a drug house is a wobbler. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.
As a misdemeanor, a conviction can result in up to one year in a Los Angeles County Jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
As a felony, a conviction can land a defendant behind bars in a California State prison for anywhere between 16 months and three years. There may also be a fine of up to $10,000.
Drug crimes can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and probation. You’ll also generate a criminal record, which can potentially affect every aspect of your life. It’s important to fight any criminal charges with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.