Silt man pleads not guilty to multiple charges, including ethnic intimidation, criminal extortion

Case against former Republican Senate primary candidate to head for trial setting

A Silt man charged in 2021 with ethnic intimidation and criminal extortion pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and his attorney requested the case continue in a trial setting.

Mark H. Aspiri, a former Republican primary U.S. Senate candidate, allegedly threatened to expose the victim’s immigration status unless Aspiri was paid $1,200, the Glenwood Springs Police Department previously reported.

According to, Aspiri was a 2014 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado for a brief time before dropping out.

In December 2020, Aspiri allegedly began calling the victim and demanding payment. On one of the calls, Aspiri allegedly said he had the ability to end the career of local police officers if they became involved, police reported in 2021.

As the alleged threats continued, despite the victim blocking Aspiri’s original phone number, the victim became fearful and reportedly paid Aspiri $500.

The victim’s friends advised paying off Aspiri, acknowledging his influence in the community, and the possibility of deportation if Aspiri’s alleged actions were reported, police reported.

In a conversation with an attorney eventually retained by the victim’s family, Aspiri said he had “done this often and gotten thousands of dollars from people,” a 2021 police department news release states.

Since charges were filed, the case against Aspiri has been continued multiple times.

Judge James Boyd set Aspiri’s next court appearance for March 8, adding a deadline of March 4 for attorneys to file motions related to the case.

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.