Proud Boys leader was ‘prolific’ informer for US law enforcement: Report

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a previous as an informer for federal and native law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, based on a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal courtroom continuing obtained by Reuters.

In the Miami listening to, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s personal lawyer described his undercover work and stated he had helped authorities prosecute greater than a dozen individuals in varied instances involving medicine, playing and human smuggling.

Tarrio, in an interview with Reuters Tuesday, denied working undercover or cooperating in instances towards others. “I don’t know any of this,” he stated, when requested in regards to the transcript. “I don’t recall any of this.”

Law-enforcement officers and the courtroom transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. In a press release to Reuters, the previous federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

Read | Pro-Trump march: Who are ‘Proud Boys’ and ‘Three Percenters’?

Tarrio, 36, is a high-profile determine who organizes and leads the right-wing Proud Boys of their confrontations with these they imagine to be Antifa, quick for “anti-fascism,” an amorphous and infrequently violent leftist motion. The Proud Boys had been concerned within the lethal riot on the Capitol January 6.

The information uncovered by Reuters are startling as a result of they present {that a} leader of a far-right group now beneath intense scrutiny by law enforcement was beforehand an energetic collaborator with legal investigators.

Washington police arrested Tarrio in early January when he arrived within the metropolis two days earlier than the Capitol Hill riot. He was charged with possessing two high-capacity rifle magazines, and burning a Black Lives Matter banner throughout a December demonstration by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The DC Superior Court ordered him to go away town pending a courtroom date in June.

Though Tarrio didn’t participate within the Capitol riot, not less than 5 Proud Boys members have been charged within the riot. The FBI beforehand stated Tarrio’s earlier arrest was an effort to preempt the occasions of January 6.

The transcript from 2014 shines a brand new gentle on Tarrio’s previous connections to law enforcement. During the listening to, the prosecutor and Tarrio’s protection legal professional requested a choose to cut back the jail sentence of Tarrio and two co-defendants. They had pleaded responsible in a fraud case associated to the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes take a look at kits.

The prosecutor stated Tarrio’s data had led to the prosecution of 13 individuals on federal expenses in two separate instances, and had helped native authorities examine a playing ring.

Tarrio’s then-lawyer Jeffrey Feiler stated in courtroom that his shopper had labored undercover in quite a few investigations, one involving the sale of anabolic steroids, one other relating to “wholesale prescription narcotics” and a 3rd focusing on human smuggling. He stated Tarrio helped police uncover three marijuana develop homes, and was a “prolific” cooperator.

In the smuggling case, Tarrio, “at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country,” the lawyer stated in courtroom.

In an interview, Feiler stated he didn’t recall particulars in regards to the case however added, “The information I provided to the court was based on information provided to me by law enforcement and the prosecutor.”

An FBI agent on the listening to known as Tarrio a “key component” in native police investigations involving marijuana, cocaine and MDMA, or ecstasy. The Miami FBI office declined remark.

There is not any proof Tarrio has cooperated with authorities since then. In interviews with Reuters, nevertheless, he stated that earlier than rallies in varied cities, he would let police departments know of the Proud Boys’ plans. It is unclear if this was truly the case. He stated he stopped this coordination after December 12 as a result of the DC police had cracked down on the group.

Tarrio on Tuesday acknowledged that his fraud sentence was decreased, from 30 months to 16 months, however insisted that leniency was offered solely as a result of he and his co-defendants helped investigators “clear up” questions on his personal case. He stated he by no means helped examine others.

That remark contrasts with statements made in courtroom by the prosecutor, his lawyer and the FBI. The choose within the case, Joan A. Lenard, stated Tarrio “provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of other persons involved in criminal conduct.”

As Trump supporters challenged the Republican’s election loss in usually violent demonstrations, Tarrio stood out for his swagger as he led crowds of principally white Proud Boys in a sequence of confrontations and road brawls in Washington, DC, Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere.

The Proud Boys, based in 2016, started as a bunch protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity. It grew into a bunch with distinctive colours of yellow and black that embraced road preventing. In September their profile soared when Trump known as on them to “Stand back and stand by.”

Tarrio, based mostly in Miami, turned the nationwide chairman of the group in 2018.

In November and December, Tarrio led the Proud Boys via the streets of DC after Trump’s loss. Video reveals him on December 11 with a bullhorn in entrance of a giant crowd. “To the parasites both in Congress, and in that stolen White House,” he stated. “You want a war, you got one!” The crowd roared. The subsequent day Tarrio burned the BLM banner.

Former prosecutor Johannes stated she was shocked that the defendant she prosecuted for fraud is now a key participant within the violent motion that sought to halt the certification of President Joe Biden.

“I knew that he was a fraudster – but had no reason to know that he was also a domestic terrorist,” she stated.

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