Man skips town on sexual assault charges |

Man skips town on sexual assault charges

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A man charged with two counts of sexual assault did not appear for his Pitkin County District Court date Monday, resulting in the issuance of a $12,500 arrest warrant.

Elidio Meraz, whose age and place of residence was not released, was charged Monday with sexual assault.

Details on the case are being tightly held by the court until there is a ruling on a motion to seal, according to Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols.

Meraz appeared in court a month ago and asked for the month to try to work out a deal with the prosecution. Nichols waited one month to file charges.

A Bulgarian visitor to Aspen, who was working as a ski valet for the St. Regis Aspen, evidently is on the run after he allegedly stole a Jeep and went for a joyride while drunk.

An arrest warrant was issued Monday for Maksim Georgiev, 24, after he failed to appear at his district court date in Aspen.

Georgiev was arrested at approximately 1:45 a.m. Feb. 21, after being stopped at the roundabout on the west side of Aspen, according to Nichols.

Because of the value of the Jeep ” possibly as much as $20,000 ” Georgiev was charged with a Class 6 felony, which carries a potential penalty of up to a year and a half in jail and a fine of up to $200,000. He also was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Georgiev posted the $500 bond and was released from jail in February.

A man and woman charged with a theft spree in the Aspen area were charged collectively with 20 criminal counts on Monday.

Jeremy Wayne Nichols, 34, and Leslie Christine Castle, 24, were charged with felony conspiracy to commit theft in a series of $20,000 or more, along with a number of lesser charges.

The most serious of the crimes carries a sentence of four to 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

“Mr. Nichols has certainly experienced a downward spiral,” Nichols said. “The file is quite voluminous.”

The pair fled Oregon under threat of warrants and allegedly left a trail of credit card purchases for gasoline and other goods as far as Fruita on Jan. 8, according to detective Chris Womack.

Police suspect the couple were involved in a handful of car break-ins in Aspen and Basalt, and police have records for fraudulent credit card purchases in high-end Aspen shops.

A Rifle man pleaded guilty Monday to felony menacing and misdemeanor driving under the influence.

Ryan Dale Wagster, 31, a felon, was charged originally with three felonies ” including second-degree assault ” and three misdemeanors ” including driving under the influence after allegedly pistol-whipping and threatening to shoot a man traveling in his car.

The other charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

The incident occurred July 16, when Pitkin County dispatch received a report of a white pickup truck driving erratically near the 300 block of West Main Street in Aspen at 1:52 a.m. Soon after, the truck was reported stopped.

The driver of a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus driving past the stopped truck called in to say a man was pointing a gun at someone in the passenger seat, according to court documents.

Less than five minutes later, the same truck was reported to have crashed on the 400 block of North Seventh Street.

Wagster was arrested on the scene and police found a loaded 0.22 caliber handgun, a spent casing and blood on the butt of the gun.

“My extensive substance abuse has led me to this,” Wagster said at the hearing.

According to Nichols, Wagster previously was convicted of second-degree assault on a police officer in 1999; he violated parole on that charge and returned to prison.

Wagster is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:45 p.m. on April 21.


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