Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty To Methamphetamine Charge Involving A Death

CONTACT: Barbara Burns

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jason Yelder, 38, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and an $8,000,000 fine.

“This Office remains committed to bringing those who distribute drugs that kill others to justice,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “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. And when they do, this Office will do all that we can to bring those who distribute them to justice.”  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that in 2017, the defendant, as a result of a methamphetamine trafficking conviction, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison and five years post-release supervision. Yelder was released from custody and supervision began on May 25, 2018.

In February 2019, the defendant broke off all contact with probation personnel. In July 2019, the U.S. Marshal’s Service located Yelder at a hotel on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, which the defendant had rented and was using distribute methamphetamine.  On July 15, 2019, Yelder was arrested and found to be in possession of 21 baggies containing a total of approximately 30 grams of between 98% and 99% pure methamphetamine. 

Prior to Yelder’s arrest, on May 28, 2019, an individual identified as K.L. was found dead by the train tracks near 355 Lakefront Boulevard in Buffalo. Previously, K.L. had been at another hotel room rented by Yelder on Pearl Street. While at the hotel, the defendant gave K.L. 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. The defendant admitted his role in the overdose death of K.L.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division, and the U.S. Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Charles Salina.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 30, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Vilardo. 

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