Proud Boys Leader Tarrio Was ‘Prolific’ Law Enforcement Cooperator After 2012 Arrest

Screenshot/Wall Street Journal
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January 27, 2021 11:17 a.m.

The leader of the Proud Boys was a “prolific” cooperator with law enforcement following a past brush with federal charges, a report revealed Wednesday. 

Enrique Tarrio aided in the prosecution of everything from “running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes,” the former federal prosecutor who worked Tarrio’s case told Reuters

Tarrio, who was himself arrested on Jan. 4 on suspicion of burning a historically Black D.C. church’s Black Lives Matter banner, doesn’t remember a thing. 

“I don’t know any of this,” he told Reuters. “I don’t recall any of this.”

Reuters was working off of court records following Tarrio’s 2012 arrest. He and two others pleaded guilty to a scheme involving the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes test strips in 2013.

Tarrio’s sentence was reduced from 30 months to 16 in 2014. Reuters dug up the transcript from a hearing that year in which Tarrio’s lawyer — as well as the judge, FBI agent and federal prosecutor working the case — explained the extent of his client’s cooperation with law enforcement. 

At the hearing, an FBI agent said Tarrio was a “key component” in investigations involving marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy.

Tarrio’s lawyer, Jeffrey Feiler, told the court that Tarrio had worked as a “prolific” cooperator, including undercover in investigations involving steroids, wholesale prescription narcotics and human smuggling. 

In the human smuggling case, Feiler told the court, 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.” 

Feiler told Reuters that the information he provided the court “was based on information provided to me by law enforcement and the prosecutor.”

The prosecutor on Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, told the court that Tarrio had aided in the federal prosecution of more than a dozen people, in addition to helping a local gambling ring investigation. 

Judge Joan A. Lenard said Tarrio “provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of other persons involved in criminal conduct,” Reuters reported, quoting the 2014 transcript.

Tarrio told Reuters the sentencing reduction he received was due to him helping “clear up” details of his own case, not others.

The revelation of Tarrio’s past cooperation with law enforcement puts him in a difficult spot now. 

The Proud Boys leader is currently facing his own charges for the burned BLM banner and two high-capacity rifle magazines that D.C. police alleged were in his possession at the time of his arrest. 

Also, numerous Proud Boys including prominent organizer Joe Biggs are facing federal charges for their role in the Capitol attack. One Proud Boy, Dominic “Spazzo” Pezzola, was charged after video from the attack showed him allegedly bashing out a window on the Capitol building with a riot shield, an early breach that led to a stream of people entering the building. 

On a press call Tuesday, D.C.’s top federal prosecutor told reporters that authorities are pursuing conspiracy and sedition cases against groups that may have planned their role in the attack ahead of time. 

In a webcast after the attack that was subsequently surfaced by the Wall Street Journal (pictured above), Tarrio and other Proud Boys, including the now-charged Biggs, wore FBI hats and did not denounce the attack.

“I’m not going to denounce anything,” Tarrio said. 

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