Silt man, a former U.S. Senate candidate, arrested for alleged extortion, ethnic intimidation
Glenwood Police Department reiterates crime victims can contact them regardless of immigration status
Glenwood Springs Police have arrested former U.S. Senate candidate Mark H. Aspiri of Silt on charges of criminal extortion, ethnic intimidation harassment and theft crimes involving threats made against a local Hispanic man.
A Tuesday press release from Glenwood Police Chief Joseph Deras states Aspiri, 52, was allegedly attempting to leverage the victim’s immigration status as a reason to pay him $1,200.
The victim reportedly became very scared as the alleged threats from Aspiri continued, even after he had blocked the original number he called from other numbers touting his influence in the community, according to the release.
According to Ballotpedia.org, Aspiri was a 2014 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado for a brief time before being defeated at the GOP Assembly by Cory Gardner, the eventual winner of the seat.
According to Glenwood Springs police, the calls from Aspiri began in December 2020. On one of the calls, Aspiri allegedly expressed that he had the ability to end the career of local police officers if they became involved.
“He told the victim that if the police became a problem, he had the ability to make phone calls and have the officer(s) fired,” Deras said in the release “The victim was so frightened, he relented and paid Mr. Aspiri $500.”
When the victim sought guidance from friends, they also encouraged him to just pay Aspiri, acknowledging the influence he has in the community and how it could possibly result in the man getting deported, Deras said.
In a conversation with the attorney eventually retained by the victim’s family, Aspiri said he had “done this often and gotten thousands of dollars from people,” according to the release.
Aspiri was arrested but has since been released on bond. He has a bond appearance in Garfield County District Court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“This case is particularly concerning, as it appears the victim was preyed upon due to his immigration status,” Deras said in the release. “There were some indications that the suspect has political connections/history, and intimated his ability to have influence over police officers’ careers.”
Deras added that victims of crimes within the non-English speaking community and the local labor force are encouraged to reach out to police when crimes occur. The release affirms immigration authorities will not be contacted or asked to look into a person’s status if they come forward as a victim or witness.
“We are committed to investigating all crimes irrespective of a person’s resident/labor status,” Deras said.
Deras asked that individuals familiar with other victims of similar criminal actions, threats or intimidation tactics contact the police at (970)-384-6500. When calling, all parties have the option to stay anonymous.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
A Carbondale man who pleaded guilty to hitting a male student in the parking lot at Roaring Fork High School last spring in a confrontation over the man’s daughter was sentenced Tuesday to two years…