Washington: Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was once a prolific cooperator with FBI and local law enforcement in South Florida, according to court records from a 2012 fraud case in which he pleaded guilty to helping sell stolen goods.
Tarrio is under intense law enforcement scrutiny since the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, in which members of the Proud Boys have been charged with some of the most destructive and aggressive acts around the building, according to people familiar with the FBI’s ongoing investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the case.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested when he arrived in Washington DC. Credit:AP
The Proud Boys are a male chauvinist group with ties to white nationalism. Last year, then-president Donald Trump famously told the group to “stand back, and stand by” when asked during a debate to condemn white supremacists and the Proud Boys in particular. The moment emboldened the group and others like it who felt Trump’s comment indicated they had presidential support.
The Proud Boys have led numerous pro-Trump protests, though since January 6, Tarrio has called for a halt on participating in marches. Even before the riot, he was the subject of a law enforcement investigation, and was arrested in early January for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner torn down from a historic church during a previous protest in DC Tarrio has pleaded not guilty.
It’s unclear how his record as a cooperator will be received by the members of his group, which proclaims itself to be pro-law enforcement, although they have clashed openly with police officers in recent protests, including at the Capitol.
Tarrio, who has denied the Proud Boys organised any violence at the Capitol, did not immediately respond to a text message and phone call seeking comment about his past cooperation with law enforcement, which was first reported by Reuters. He told the news service that he had no recollection of assisting law enforcement despite being identified in the court documents.
At a 2014 hearing in his case, then-prosecutor Vanessa Johannes described Tarrio as “probably the most cooperative from day one. From day one, he was the one who wanted to talk to law enforcement, wanted to clear his name, wanted to straighten this out so that he could move on with his life.“
The prosecutor told the court that Tarrio’s cooperation helped federal agents prosecute 13 others, and aided local police with a number of undercover drug investigations.
Jeffrey Feiler, Tarrio’s defence attorney at the time, said that Tarrio’s broad cooperation allowed law enforcement to successfully raid multiple marijuana grow houses and seize 100 pounds of the drug. He said Tarrio also “worked in an undercover capacity in a case involving information pertaining to an illegal immigrant smuggling ring and, again at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $US11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country.” The prosecutor, though, said nothing came of that case.
Feiler said that in addition to the cooperation Tarrio provided that produced indictments or other tangible results, Tarrio also made 10 attempts that didn’t ultimately work, sometimes because the local police department involved just didn’t have the manpower. Those cases involved steroids, cocaine, ecstasy, and credit card theft, Feiler said.
At the 2014 hearing, Feiler argued Tarrio’s cooperation had earned him a reduction of his prison sentence by 18 months, while the prosecutor argued for a 10-month cut. The judge ultimately reduced his sentence nearly in half, from 30 months to 16 months.
Feiler said in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday that he had limited memory of the case, and was unsure if Tarrio’s work with law enforcement extended further in any sort of paid or other capacity.
“Typically what will happen is a defendant or cooperator will run the gamut of everything they hope to accomplish, and then there will come a point where they’ve done all they can do,” Feiler said.
Most Viewed in World
Source: Read Full Article