Ed Buck, a Democratic donor and activist already facing charges in the death of one of two men who fatally overdosed at his West Hollywood apartment, now faces charges in the other.
A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Buck, 65, on Wednesday on one count of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death for the overdose of Timothy Dean, 55, in January. Mr. Buck was charged last month in a criminal complaint with the same crime in the 2017 death of Gemmel Moore, 26 — a charge that was also included in Wednesday’s indictment.
The grand jury also indicted Mr. Buck on three other counts of methamphetamine distribution, saying that, for years, he had engaged in a pattern of giving drugs to men who performed sexual favors at his apartment.
“Buck exerted power over his victims, often targeting vulnerable individuals who were destitute, homeless, and/or struggled with drug addiction, in order to exploit the relative wealth and power imbalance between them,” the grand jury wrote in the indictment.
If convicted of either of the top two charges, Mr. Buck could face a sentence of up to life in prison without parole, prosecutors said.
Mr. Buck is in federal custody, prosecutors said. His lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday evening.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began investigating Mr. Buck after Mr. Moore’s death in 2017. Investigators talked to other men who described disturbing encounters with Mr. Buck, including one man who said he believed Mr. Buck injected him with drugs while he was sleeping.
But no charges were filed until last month. After Mr. Dean died in January in the same way as Mr. Moore, the authorities began investigating Mr. Buck again.
They found more men who had encounters with Mr. Buck, including one who said Mr. Buck gave him a syringe that Mr. Buck said contained methamphetamine, according to last month’s complaint. But, after injecting himself, the man said, he believed the syringe contained a tranquilizer. He told the authorities that he could not move for more than six hours.
Mr. Buck was arrested in September after investigators said a third man had suffered an overdose in his home. The man survived.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Buck in the third man’s overdose. The state charges include battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.
Shortly afterward, federal prosecutors charged Mr. Buck in Mr. Moore’s death. In a detailed complaint that accused Mr. Buck of repeatedly exchanging drugs and money for sexual favors, prosecutors said there were at least 11 victims in the last two years.
One victim said Mr. Buck was known as “Doctor Kevorkian,” and was “well known for compensating male prostitutes with drugs and money,” according to the complaint.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that the federal case would proceed before the state case. They said that more charges could follow.
The case has raised questions about why the authorities did not arrest Mr. Buck before Mr. Dean’s death. It has also led to accusations that Mr. Buck specifically preyed on black men. Both Mr. Moore and Mr. Dean were black, and most of the 11 victims outlined in last month’s complaint were also black.