A Hodgeville man caught last year trafficking large amounts of hard drugs throughout the southwest has been handed a lengthy sentence.

Keenan Ireland received an eight-year sentence minus time served in Swift Current Provincial Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to trafficking fentanyl, methamphetamine, and possession of proceeds of crime.

Federal Crown prosecutor Brian Smith sought a nine-year sentence while the defence asked for a seven-year term, with Provincial Court Judge D. O'Hanlon selecting the middle ground.

"There's been at least three of four cases that I'm aware of in Saskatchewan where people have received eight years for large quantities of fentanyl," he said. "It's a long sentence but this is also a large quantity and we're seeing sentences in that range for this quantity of fentanyl."

The Crown stayed several charges against Ireland as part of the plea; possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking of cocaine, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of cannabis for the purpose of distribution.

The 42-year-old was arrested on March 23, 2023, when the Swift Current Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team, Swift Current General Investigation Section, and Morse RCMP carried out a warrant on his home in Hodgeville. They also searched one of his friend's residences that same day in Swift Current.

The two searches turned up between $359,000 and $448,000 worth of drugs according to court documents. Police found 1.065 kilograms of fentanyl, 3.28 kilograms of methamphetamine, 428 grams of cocaine, and an undisclosed amount of cash.

"Over the last three years, it's been a lot more, we didn't see it much before then," Smith said regarding fentanyl court cases.

Due to confidential source information, RCMP became aware of Ireland's activities in January 2023. They started investigating him using surveillance and tracking data which showed he travelled multiple times to Alberta, Swift Current, Maple Creek, Herbert, Central Butte, Tompkins, and Main Center. Four instances within two weeks, before the two search warrants were executed, were noted as consistent with drug trafficking actions. 

Ireland had served 412 days as of May 8 and was credited at time and a half making it 619 days. His remaining sentence is six years and 111 days.