Former actor, model, and political activist Ed Buck was recently charged with running a drug den out of his home after a series of high-profile incidents resulted in the deaths of several men. According to authorities, Buck had allegedly been inviting men into his home and offering them money and drugs in exchange for sex. In recent months, several men were reported to have overdosed on methamphetamines in Buck’s home, with the most recent having occurred on September 11th, 2019. This victim survived, but not all were that lucky.
As a result of the recent incident, Buck has been charged with one felony count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine, and maintaining a drug house.
Maintaining a drug house is covered under California Health and Safety Code 11366 HS and makes it illegal to maintain any place for the purpose of selling or giving away illegal controlled substances. In order to be charged with violating 11366 HS, a prosecutor must be able to prove that a person opened or maintained a place (oftentimes a residence) and that the person did so with the intent of selling, giving away, or allowing others to use controlled substances there on an ongoing basis.
It’s important to note that in order for a “place” to qualify as a drug house, it must be set up with the intention of allowing other people to use controlled substances in the space.
Maintaining a drug house is a “wobbler” offense under California Law, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For felony charges, the penalties include 16 months to 3 years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Since several people have been injured or killed as a result of Buck’s alleged crimes, prosecutors chose to charge him with felony-level offenses. They’ve recommended his bail be set at $4 million.