Callum Oliver is the latest to be put behind bars relating to a police investigation into criminal gangs from Merseyside peddling cocaine and heroin in Shropshire.
Now aged 21, the defendant was first spotted in Shrewsbury in 2017 and was picked up with £2,490 cash and £260 worth of stolen clothing on a train by investigating officer.
He was bailed, but a month later he was again caught with £1,400 in coins and goods including scented candles and cigarettes worth £2,159 in a car that was stopped. He also had two mobile phones and a list of drug debtors.
In April last year Oliver failed to turn up for his trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court after denying the offences. A jury subsequently found him guilty in his absence of two counts of conspiracy to supply drugs.
He was eventually caught in May this year after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
The case was part of an investigation involving a house, in Racecourse Crescent, in Monkmoor, where an elderly man's home was taken over by 'cuckoo' drug dealers Rebecca Brookes and Donna Bound.
Oliver was delivering the takings back to Liverpool when he was twice stopped.
Sentencing him on Thursday Judge Peter Barrie said: "You played a key part in this county lines drugs supply operation bringing Class A drugs to Shrewsbury from the Liverpool area.
"Cuckooing the home of a vulnerable man was also part of the process of distributing drugs. You were step closer to the organising minds than those on the ground dealing in Shrewsbury.
"Your co-defendants were dealt with earlier."
"It could be said that your role in running drugs from Liverpool and returning the proceeds was a step nearer the organisers. Against that is your age at the time of these offences and your lack of previous convictions."
In mitigation, Mr Brandon Carville, for Oliver, said: "He was couriering goods and drugs to and from Liverpool. He didn't attend his trial because he was threatened by the Liverpool end about coming to give evidence."
For drugs conspiracy Oliver, of Bootle, Merseyside, was jailed for five years, and for handling ten months to run concurrently. He must serve half the term before release on licence.
The judge ordered the forfeiture of the cash totalling £3,890. No action will be taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He must pay the victims' surcharge.
Co-defendants Donna Bound, 47, of Racecourse Crescent, and Rebecca Brookes, 41, of Northwood Road, Crowmere, in Shrewsbury, were both jailed for four years in 2019 after admitting conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Oliver's sentence has been welcomed by West Mercia Police.
Shropshire proactive CID's Detective Sergeant Andy Chatting said: “This is a significant sentence that highlights the commitment of not just police, but the courts too to make sure those involved in county lines drug dealing are brought to justice.
“We are working diligently, and will continue to do so, to target those involved in serious and organised crime and transporting drugs into our towns.”