A little more than two years ago, the body of a 28-year-old man was found by train tracks along Lakefront Boulevard in Buffalo. An autopsy revealed that the man, Kyle Loder, who grew up in Hamburg, had died of a methamphetamine overdose.
On Tuesday, Jason Yelder, 38, pleaded guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of meth, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr.'s office announced. While he was not charged directly in Loder's death, Yelder admitted to his authorities that he provided Loder with a vial of methamphetamine.
“While much of our effort recently has rightfully been directed toward stopping the distribution of deadly fentanyl, this prosecution reminds us that other illicit drugs kill too," Kennedy said in a statement.
Yelder faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and an $8 million fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 30 before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.
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Loder's body was found May 28, 2019. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, he had been to a hotel room rented by Yelder on Pearl Street where Yelder gave him "a vial of liquid methamphetamine."
"The toxicology report for K.L. revealed methamphetamine in K.L.’s system, and the medical examiner concluded that, but for the methamphetamine in K.L.’s system, K.L. would not have died," a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Yelder was arrested in July 2019. U.S. marshals found him at a Delaware Avenue hotel in Buffalo where, authorities said, he was renting a room and distributing meth. He was found in possession of 21 baggies containing about 30 grams of 98% to 99% pure meth.
Yelder was previously convicted in 2017 on a methamphetamine trafficking charge, according to Adler. In that case, he was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison and five years post-release supervision. He was released from custody and supervision on May 25, 2018.
But, prosecutors said, Yelder "broke off all contact with probation personnel" in February 2019.
Loder's mother, Bridget, who listened in on Tuesday's hearing from the West Coast, said afterward that her son was a bright, young man with many talents who battled addiction since he was about 14 years old.
She said that in some ways, she has sympathy for Yelder, who she was told also has a substance abuse disorder, like her son. Yet, she said, Yelder sold her son a drug that killed him.
"It's no different to me than someone carrying a loaded gun," Bridget Loder said. "Yes, Kyle made choices in his life. Nobody forced him to do that. But you can't just go out and sell illegal handguns or poison that you know is going to kill somebody."
She said she misses her son every day.
"It doesn't get any easier," she said.