Jake O'Connor, 19, was caught by chance in Rugby when he was stopped by police investigating an unrelated matter, Warwick Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting, Nicolas Tatlow, said that officers saw O'Connor on the canal towpath near Reservoir Road in Rugby in April last year.
When he was stopped and searched a single £10 wrap of crack cocaine was found on him and he was arrested, the court was told.
During a further search two more wrap were found in a small bag he had in his sock, along with £585 in cash and two mobile phones.
One of the phones had a number of messages on it which made it clear he was involved in dealing – including "broadcast messages" offering drugs for sale to a large group of people.
O'Connor, who gave "no comment" replies when he was interviewed, is already serving a 23-month prison sentence for burglary.
He was also given a community order by a youth court after being convicted of possessing heroin and cocaine with intent in 2018, Mr Tatlow said.
Samantha Powis, defending, said O'Connor might have been eligible for release from the burglary sentence on an electronic tag in September, if it was not for the drugs offence.
Asking for him to be sentenced "from today", Miss Powis added: "There was an immediate guilty plea, he is only 19, and at the time he was himself addicted to class A drugs.
"Small-time dealers are recruited by others. He was used by others far more experienced than him to get his own fixes. This was not his enterprise, and he's a very low-rung player.
"He has used his time in custody to reflect. He's spent his time thinking is this really how he wants to live his life."
Recorder Jason Macadam questioned: "Why should the sentence start today, and not be a sentence which runs consecutive to the period of imprisonment he’s serving at the moment?”
But, asking the judge to consider totality, Miss Powis said O'Connor had already served the equivalent of 10 months of the burglary sentence.
O'Connor, of Morrison Avenue, in Bushbury, was jailed for two years and eight months after he admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply it.
Recorder Macadam ordered the start of the sentence to be served concurrently with his burglary jail term and ordered the £585 to be confiscated.
He said: "You were found by the police to be in possession of class A drugs, a total of three £10 wraps.
“There is no dispute where this falls in the calendar of offending. This is street dealing, and your role was significant. But Miss Powis says very persuasively that you were a small cog in a large organisation.
“You have acquired a regrettable number of convictions, and you have graduated to being a small but effective cog in a drug-dealing organisation.
“If you carry on in this way, the sentences of imprisonment are going to get longer and longer and longer.”