Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has a history of being an informant in criminal investigations

Stephanie Keith/Getty ImagesEnrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside Harry’s bar during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  • Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio used to be a federal and local police informant, Reuters reported.
  • Tarrio’s cooperation assisted in the prosecution of more than a dozen defendants.
  • He denied this report, but it was confirmed in a court transcript obtained by Reuters.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Enrique Tarrio used to serve as a criminal informant in Florida before moving on to serve as the leader of the prominent Proud Boys extremist group,Reuters reported.

After being arrested in 2012, Tarrio began working as an undercover informant for federal and local law enforcement, assisting in the prosecution of more than a dozen people in drug, gambling and human smuggling cases, Reuters reported.

His role in the cases came to light in a 2014 court hearing in Miami, when a prosecutor and defence attorney asked to reduce Tarrio’s sentence in a fraud case because of his cooperation with law enforcement, Reuters reported, based on a transcript of the hearing.






Tarrio and two other defendants had pleaded guilty in a fraud case related to the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes test kits, according to Reuters.

Tarrio’s then-lawyer Jeffrey Feiler called Tarrio a “prolific” informant who assisted police in uncovering three grow houses. He also assisted in cases involving anabolic steroids.

In a human smuggling case, Tarrio met and negotiated to pay $US11,000 to bring fictitious family members into the US from another country, his lawyer said in court, according to Reuters.

In an interview with Reuters, Tarrio denied that he served as an informant, but the former prosecutor in his fraud case acknowledged his role in a statement to the outlet.

Federal prosecutor Vanessa Singh Johannes confirmed to Reuters 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.”

Tarrio became involved with Proud Boys when it was founded during former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.

He became the group’s president in 2018, he previously told Insider.

The Proud Boys were founded as a largely pro-Trump group of men who united in their sexist and discriminatory beliefs.

Their members have been involved in street fights around the US, and several have been arrested for their role in the Capitol riots last month.

Tarrio had been arrested days ahead of the insurrection and banned from Washington, DC, due to allegations that he burned a Black Lives Matter flag at a prior pro-Trump march in the city.

Proud Boys leaders have long maintained that the group is not associated with white supremacy. Tarrio, a Cuban-American, said in a September interview with Insider that while the group is “a little rough around the edges,” it’s not a white-supremacist organisation. “I denounce white supremacy, and I denounce fascism and communism,” he said.

The group undeniably hosts members who do have racist, white supremacist, anti-Islam, and anti-Semitic views. The Southern Poverty Law Centre, a nonprofit that tracks extremism, categorizes the Proud Boys as a hate group.

Tarrio previously told Insider he now earns an income by selling Proud Boys branded merchandise online, and that he used to work as a government “contractor,” without elaborating.

“Now this is what I do 24/7,” he said, “I sell T-shirts.”

Tarrio didn’t immediately return a message from Insider seeking comment on Wednesday.

Read the full exclusive story in Reuters »»

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