Buck’s attorneys challenge witness

Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — The attorneys for a West Hollywood man accused of providing drugs to a Black man who died of a drug overdose in his apartment gave an indication of which direction there defense might be going last week.

In a Zoom hearing conducted by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder March 2 attorneys for Ed Buck challenged the report of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy who said she saw a substance appearing to be methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia in plain view when she was called to the scene of the overdose death.

Sheriff’s deputy Grehtel Barraza said she responded to a call for service at Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017, and saw drug evidence in plain view in open drawers of a rolling tool cabinet.

Buck, 66, is facing nine felony counts in Los Angeles federal court including a charge of luring a person across state lines for prostitution. He also faces state charges of running a drug den. The federal case will proceed first, with trial scheduled to start April 20.

Barraza told the judge she noticed several “used syringes,” a “bulbous glass pipe” and a clear plastic bag containing a “crystal-like substance” she took to be methamphetamine in open drawers of the red tool chest. Sex toys also were exposed in another open drawer, Barraza said.

Attempting to have the judge throw out the deputy’s sworn declaration, defense attorney Ludlow Creary II questioned whether Barraza could have seen anything in a tool chest which, as Buck alleged, had no open drawers when the deputy was in the room.

Buck, appearing via Zoom from the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, testified that he called 911 that day for help with his friend, Gemmel Moore, who was unresponsive.

The defendant said he remembers the drawers of the tool cabinet were shut, and, in fact, were always kept shut because otherwise the chest could tip over.

Snyder took the matter under submission.

Buck was arrested in September 2019 after being charged in federal court with providing methamphetamine to a man who died after receiving the drug intravenously. He now faces additional charges, including a count alleging that he enticed 26-year-old Moore to travel to the Los Angeles area to engage in prostitution. Buck allegedly provided meth to Moore, who overdosed on the drug and died on July 27, 2017.

Buck is charged with a second count of enticing a man to travel with the intent of engaging in prostitution. He is also accused of knowingly and intentionally distributing meth, and using his apartment for the purpose of distributing narcotics such as meth, and the sedatives gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and clonazepam.

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