SAN DIEGO — Officers arrested a man carrying a “ghost gun” and drugs in Escondido last weekend, marking the tenth time they took him into custody since 2020, according to police.
Craig Blas’ latest arrest came Saturday as he walked through a parking lot on Grand Avenue just east of state Route 78, Escondido Police Department said in a news release. Officers recognized him as a “known wanted felon” and came up with a plan to take him into custody.
Blas ran when he spotted the officers but they were able to catch him quickly and make the arrest, according to police. They searched the 32-year-old and found a handgun magazine, three fake oxycodone pills that tested positive for fentanyl, a red dot sight for a pistol and $738 in cash.
The officers said they also saw Blas throw something into a car as he tried to escape. They searched that vehicle and found a handgun with no serial number. Police referred to the weapon as a “ghost gun,” a virtually untraceable weapon that’s typically assembled from parts bought online or in a kit.
Police also found about 36 grams of methamphetamine, 235 fentanyl pills, 3.56 grams of powder fentanyl, a loaded magazine, a digital scale and “baggies consistent with the kind used to package illegal narcotics” in the car, the news release says.
Based on all the items they found, police arrested Blas on suspicion of selling drugs along with other charges related to his existing felony warrant, possessing a gun as a felon and resisting arrest.
Blas is no stranger to Escondido police. He was arrested for possession of an assault rifle and short-barreled shotgun in 2017 and 2018, officials said. Since his release in 2019, Blas has landed back in custody numerous times, including seven arrests in 2020 for a variety of drug and weapon violations. In 2021, he was arrested again on similar charges.
After each arrest, Blas was released on parole. Most recently, police say he was taken into custody in April 2022 for a probation violation.
In their statement Wednesday, law enforcement officials pointed to Propositions 47 and 57 as an explanation for Blas’ repeated releases. The two voter-approved state policies modified California’s judicial system to lower some offenses from felonies to misdemeanors and expanded the ways an incarcerated person can become eligible for supervised release.
The two propositions have become synonymous with the political debate surrounding crime in California. Law enforcement advocates and some Republicans point to cases like Blas’ as an example of the policies’ “dangerous” consequences. Criminal justice reformers and some Democrats, by contrast, defend the propositions, saying they help reduce the state’s swollen prison population and leave prosecutors adequate options to impose harsher penalties.