A county lines drug dealer who supplied cocaine and heroin in Hemel Hempstead has been jailed for more than five years.

Elyass Benaziza, of Saturn Way, Hemel Hempstead, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison at Luton Crown Court today (May 30), having pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug, being concerned in the supply of a controlled class A drug and possessing criminal property.

The 30-year-old ran the well-established 'Frank' drug line, supplying cocaine in the town between June 1 and November 10, 2022.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist county lines gangs team, Operation Mantis, arrested Benaziza in November 2022 on suspicion of an unrelated assault.

Herts Advertiser: Elyass Benaziza.Elyass Benaziza. (Image: Herts police)

During the arrest officers seized 27 grams of heroin, with an estimated street value of £2,740. More than £35,000 cash and mobile phones were also seized, which upon investigation contained messages offering the sale of crack cocaine and heroin.

"Benaziza ran the well-established 'Frank' line, which supplied heroin and cocaine to the Hemel Hempstead area," said Detective Constable Chris Duncan, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Mantis team. 

"The disruption of this line will make a significant impact on drug use and associated crime in that part of the county. It also sends a clear message that drug dealing will not go unpunished and anyone involved will be caught and jailed.

"Exploitation of vulnerable young people is just one of the tragic symptoms of organised drug gangs.

"County lines dealers can coerce people into providing a base for dealers to operate or to act as distributers themselves.

"They often use young people to handle drugs and money, drawing them deeper into gang affiliation that often leads to violence and abuse."