Hike sentence

Local officials seek maximum sentence for man arrested 10 times since 2020

ESCONDIDO — County and city officials are asking for the maximum sentence for a man arrested and released multiple times over the past two years for gun and drug felonies.

Craig Blas, 32, was arrested in May after police found a handgun magazine, 235 fentanyl pills, 3.56 grams of powdered fentanyl, 36 grams of methamphetamine, three fake oxycodone pills tested positive for fentanyl, a loaded magazine, a digital scale, small bags that appear to be used to sell drugs, a red dot sight for a pistol and $738 cash on him.

The latest incident marked Blas’ tenth arrest since his release from prison in 2019.

As of 2020, Blas has been arrested seven times for criminal possession of drugs and weapons. He was detained again in 2021 for drugs, firearms and alleged sale of narcotics. Before that, he was arrested in 2017 for possession of an assault rifle and again the following year for unlawful possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

According to court records, Blas has a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 12. County Supervisor Jim Desmond, who has been candid about the situation surrounding Blas, said more than 200 letters were sent to the district attorney’s office and the judge urging Blas to be sentenced. long in prison.

Desmond joined Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara, Deputy Mayor Tina Inscoe, Acting Police Chief David Cramer and Escondido Union High School Board President Christi Knight for a press conference at the headquarters. from the police department on June 21 to push for Blas’ conviction and urge the laws that have allowed him to walk free so many times to change.

“Ten arrests in the past two years is way too many,” Desmond said.

Desmond said Blas was released so many times due to the “unintended consequences” of Proposition 47 and Assembly Bill 109.

Proposition 47 was a ballot measure approved by voters in 2014 that made certain non-violent property crimes worth no more than $950 and simple drug possession offenses into misdemeanors. Assembly Bill 109 allows non-violent, non-serious, non-high-risk sex offenders to be supervised at the county level after their release from state prison.

Desmond said AB 109 brought felons who should be in state prison back to county jails, overcrowding them and forcing many inmates to be released. According to Desmond, Proposition 47 did not result in any jail time or rehabilitation services for criminals.

The supervisor also brought up the case of Justin Flores, who killed two police officers in El Monte earlier in June. After shooting the two officers in the head, Flores exchanged gunfire with other officers who arrived at the scene before killing himself.

Flores, like Blas, had also been arrested several times before.

Desmond said he will work with local law enforcement and District Attorney Summer Stephan over the next month to find ways to close loopholes in the justice system that allow criminals like Blas to walk free.

McNamara said it’s time for the community to stand up and take action against the loopholes.

“Criminals need to have consequences, and right now they don’t,” the mayor said. “It’s time for us to start talking to our elected officials not just here but in Sacramento and say we need to have consequences.”

For the latest crime reports in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, please see The Coast News Weekly Crime Reports. For up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County, check out our daily arrest logs.