DADE CITY — His real name might be Ernest. He's gone by several throughout his violent criminal career. Ernest Blanco. Anibal Rodriguez. Chino.
Right now, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, his name is Nestor Blanco Jr. And he's accused of violating probation. Again.
Authorities say Blanco, 53, and a 22-year-old accomplice broke into a home on Covington Road May 23 and stole 18 firearms and jewelry valued at $50,000. The firearms were mostly rifles, shotguns and revolvers. The jewels were diamonds and pearls. A report states that Blanco and Ray Alexander Jr., also on felony probation, tried to sell the guns to an undercover officer.
Alexander of 38110 Howard Ave. in Dade City was arrested on Friday and is being held without bail. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance, armed burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, being a felon in possession of a firearm and violating his probation for aggravated assault and resisting an officer.
Blanco of 37411 Magnolia Ave. in Dade City was arrested Tuesday and faces the same charges.
Blanco has been in and out of prison since he was 17 — totaling more than 20 years of his life, not counting time he's spent in county jails. He's been convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, has three separate convictions of attempted murder and two separate convictions of escape.
In 1980, Blanco and another man got into a shoot-out with Tampa police officers. Blanco, then 24, and Juan Suarez, then 28, robbed a Wendy's on Armenia Avenue and forced the store employees into the freezer at gunpoint. Officers caught up to the getaway car, which turned around and rammed the police cruiser. Blanco emerged from the car shooting. The officers weren't hurt. Blanco was shot twice. The other suspect gave up and was not hurt.
Blanco was sentenced to 15 years' probation for that incident. He began serving that sentence when he was released from prison in 2002 after serving 18 years for two counts of attempted murder in Miami-Dade.
In 2008, Blanco violated his probation by being charged with burglary and grand theft. He spent 14 days in prison before his parole was reinstated and he was released.
Blanco is being held without bail at the Pasco County jail.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.