Basalt man who threw chemical-filed bottles into river pleads guilty | CraigDailyPress.com

Basalt man who threw chemical-filed bottles into river pleads guilty

Jason Auslander/Aspen Daily Times

A suspicious bottle found in the Roaring Fork River near Basalt in late January.

ASPEN– A Basalt man caught throwing duct-tape-wrapped bottles filled with household chemicals into the Roaring Fork River this spring pleaded guilty Monday to felony criminal mischief.

Richard Parras-Membreno, 43, originally faced six felony counts of causing a hazardous substance incident in relation to at least 74 bottles thrown in the river since the beginning of the winter. However, those counts were dismissed Monday as a result of a plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office.

Parras-Membreno — who has never given authorities a reason for tossing the bottles into the river — now faces between 12 and 18 months in prison when he is sentenced next month.

Prosecutor Don Nottingham said Monday that an explanation of everything that occurred in the case will “take a minute or two” to explain at sentencing.

Parras-Membreno was arrested March 16 after police staked out a site near the 7-Eleven Bridge in Basalt, where they believed the bottles had been thrown into the river. Police initially believed the bottles contained the remnants of a methamphetamine cooking operation, though no trace of drugs was found in the bottles or in Parras-Membreno’s home.

An analysis of the bottles discovered bleach, isopropyl alcohol, sodium acetate trihydrate, titanium oxide, starch and adhesive material, police have said. It also found photo paper and traces of chemicals associated with photo paper and ink used for photo development.