A 67-year-old man was sentenced to three years of incarceration after pleading guilty in Moose Jaw Provincial Court on Thursday to dealing fentanyl. 

Merlyn Hodgson’s guilty plea was a joint submission between defence lawyer Suzanne Jeanson and Federal Crown prosecutor Suzanne Young. Judge Brian Hendrickson agreed to the joint submission. 

“It’s never a pleasant day when I have to sentence someone into custody,” Hendrickson said. 

According to the statement of facts, the Moose Jaw Police Service received information between 2022 and 2023 that Hodgson was trafficking fentanyl. In February, the police received a surveillance and tracking warrant. 

On April 24, the police followed Hodgson to Regina where he stopped at a location the tracking showed he had frequented. Through inquiries, police learned that location was known as a place for drug trafficking. 

Police followed Hodgson back to Moose Jaw and conducted a traffic stop. Everyone in the vehicle, including Hodgson, was arrested. Young said Hodgson was cooperative with police and immediately pointed out where the fentanyl was in the vehicle. A total of 14.9 grams of fentanyl was found in the vehicle. 

Young said the street value of the drugs is between $1,050 and $8,400.  

The Crown presented a prior record that included related offences in 2012 and 2018. The conviction in 2018 came with a 30-month jail sentence. 

“I very much hope this is our last encounter in court,” Young said. 

Young and Jeanson both noted that Hodgson took responsibility during the first encounter with police and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to spare court resources with a lengthy trial. 

Young told the court that case law for fentanyl is still developing and evolving, but trafficking fentanyl is being taken more seriously compared to other drugs, citing two cases in which sentences of two years and eight years were handed out. 

In her submissions, Jeanson said Hodgson would have pleaded guilty earlier but he needed to make arrangements for his ailing girlfriend. She said he has a supportive family in Moose Jaw and plans to return to Moose Jaw after serving his sentence.

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