Officials Urge ‘Maximum Penalty’ for Man Arrested 10 Times in 2 Years

Officials Urge ‘Maximum Penalty’ for Man Arrested 10 Times in 2 Years
A police car in a file photo. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Jamie Joseph

San Diego County officials are urging a judge to issue the maximum sentence for a repeat offender arrested in Escondido last month, making it the 10th time the suspect was arrested in the last two years.

Supervisor Jim Desmond was joined by Escondido officials at a June 21 news conference where they blamed Proposition 47, 57, and Assembly Bill 109 for the offender’s record, identified as Craig Blas.

These policies, which were part of the state’s criminal reform efforts, have become center stage for California’s debate over the rising crime rate.

“I really think we need change in Sacramento for some of these laws that are really soft on crime and lack consequences for criminals,” Desmond told The Epoch Times.

Desmond sent a letter to Superior Court Judge James Simmons, who is overseeing Blas’s sentencing on June 21, urging him to give Blas the “maximum penalty.”

Blas, 32, was arrested in Escondido on May 7 where police seized the following items:
  • 235 fentanyl pills
  • 3.56 grams of powder fentanyl
  • digital scale and “baggies consistent with the kind used to package illegal narcotics”
  • 3 fake oxycodone pills that tested positive for fentanyl
  • 36 grams of methamphetamine
  • handgun magazine and loaded magazine
  • red dot sight for a pistol
  • $738 in cash
Officers said they recognized Blas as a known felon.

In 2020, Blas was arrested for multiple drug and weapon violations, and again arrested in 2021 on similar charges. Blas was released on parole following each arrest. In 2017 and 2018, officials said he was arrested for possessing an assault rifle and short-barreled shotgun.

Desmond compared Blas’s continual release back into society to the suspect that killed two police officers in El Monte last week, Justin Flores, who had a previous criminal record and was let out on a plea deal under Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón last year.

“[Residents are] seeing crime, they’re seeing an uptick in crime and then and then there are suspects like this who are getting out multiple times,” Desmond said. “We should have some sort of limit on the number of arrests and be able to look back when considering sentencing.”

Desmond said he will be meeting with local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to try to figure out ways to close “some of these loopholes” in the county.

Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.