Silt man convicted of criminal extortion, harassment against Latino man |

Silt man convicted of criminal extortion, harassment against Latino man

A Silt man accused of threatening an undocumented Latino immigrant in exchange for money was convicted of criminal extortion and harassment Friday.

Mark H. Aspiri was accused in fall 2020 of threatening to report the victim to immigration services unless he paid Aspiri $1,000. Aspiri was eventually charged with ethnic intimidation and criminal extortion.

Felony criminal extortion holds up to six years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine. Harassment, a misdemeanor, poses up to 364 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Aspiri’s case went to a jury trial last week, with District Judge James Boyd presiding. The prosecuting attorney hearing the case was Heidi Bauer. Chip McCrory was Aspiri’s defense attorney.

Aspiri, who briefly ran in 2014 as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Colorado but did not make the primary ballot, called the victim several times throughout 2020. By December 2020, the victim was fearful he would be deported. 

Meanwhile, Glenwood Springs police officers testified during a preliminary hearing in April that Aspiri told the victim he had the power to end the careers of any police officers who get involved.

Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras said at the time of Aspiri’s arrest that the victim sought guidance from friends over Aspiri’s threats. His friends encouraged him to simply pay Aspiri in order to avoid being deported.

Aspiri’s sentencing is slated for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 23.

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.