San Diego authorities are asking a judge to finally lock up a dangerous ex-con drug dealer who has been arrested 10 times in the past two years and keeps illegally obtaining firearms in California.
Craig Blas, 32, has repeatedly been sentenced to probation due to provisions of California’s Propositions 47 and 57, which reduced certain crimes to misdemeanors and lowered the number of inmates in state prisons, according to San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. He wrote a letter to the judge asking for the maximum sentence allowed in Blas’ latest case – for a slew of felonies.
Escondido police described Blas as "a known wanted felon" when they encountered him on May 7. He had an active felony warrant for violating probation -- and they said when they caught him they found a "ghost gun," magazines and evidence he was dealing drugs. He had previously been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2018 and 2018.
Investigators said they recovered more than 35 grams of methamphetamine and more than 230 fentanyl pills.
"Last year, the number one killer for those aged 18 to 45 was fentanyl," Desmond wrote to Judge James Simmons. "With 235 fentanyl pills, Mr. Blas had weapons that kill unknowing victims, through drug bait-and-switch overdose."
Jail records show Blas has seven pending felony charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of narcotics with intent to sell, and two more misdemeanors, one for allegedly fleeing arrest.
Before his most recent arrest, Blas was on Post Release Community Supervision, according to Escondido police, which grew out of Props 47 and 57 and "means that offenders released from prison shall only be released to parole if they most recently served time for serious or violent felonies" or met certain other criteria, which Blas did not.
He was paroled in 2019 and has been arrested over and over again ever since, including seven arrests in 2020 alone, police said.
"I believe in second chances, but 10 arrests in a little over two years is well beyond a second chance," Desmond's letter reads. "His fate is of concern to the residents of the City of Escondido and the surrounding communities."
Some of the other offenses on Blas’ rap sheet, including unlawful firearms and drug possession, are similar to the prior convictions of El Monte shooting suspect Justin William Flores, a known gang member who killed two police officers, Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana, earlier this week but could have been in prison under normal sentencing rules.
"We have to start enforcing the gun laws that have been on the books for years," Desmond told Fox News Digital Friday. "But the emphasis in California lately has been to decriminalize people and protect the criminals as opposed to protecting the victims."
Even with San Diego’s tough-on-crime District Attorney Summer Stephan, Desmond said prosecutors are hindered by Props 47 and 57.
"The titles and what's in these propositions are usually two different things, and I think it absolutely has unintended consequences," he said. "People want to be compassionate, which is good, but you have to have a line in the sand where you say, ‘No,’ you know. This person who's been arrested ten times, he was arrested seven times previous to that."
He said he hopes attention on the case encourages state lawmakers in Sacramento to change the laws that allow dangerous repeat offenders to get off with just probation.
"We’ve got to have some limitations on these crimes and just can’t let people out on probation," he said. "Some people need to be behind bars."
Blas’ latest sentencing is on June 21. Desmond is encouraging members of the public to join him in writing letters to the judge to impose the stiffest penalty available.