Enrique Tarrio, leader of the violent right-wing extremist group Proud Boys, reportedly worked for years as an informant for local and federal law enforcement. That’s right: The 36-year-old who dresses like an undercover cop was actively collaborating with ‘em too.
Reuters obtained a 2014 federal court transcript that states Tarrio began working with investigators after he was arrested in 2012 for fraud. According to his lawyer, Jeffrey Feiler, Tarrio was a “prolific” informant who “helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling.”
From The Guardian:
In a statement to Reuters, the former 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.”
The transcript from 2014 shines a new light on Tarrio’s past connections to law enforcement. During the hearing, the prosecutor and Tarrio’s defense attorney asked a judge to reduce the prison sentence of Tarrio and two co-defendants. They had pleaded guilty in a fraud case related to the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes test kits.
The prosecutor said Tarrio’s information had led to the prosecution of 13 people on federal charges in two separate cases, and had helped local authorities investigate a gambling ring.
Feiler even boasted that 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.”
In 2013, Tarrio was convicted of four felonies and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He served 16, but on Wednesday Tarrio denied that the shorter sentences he and his co-defendants received had anything to do with his world-class snitching... even though that’s literally what his lawyer argued to a judge in the aforementioned 2014 federal court hearing.
In fact, Tarrio denies remembering a single thing that happened in that courtroom.
“I don’t know any of this,” Tarrio told Reuters when asked about the transcript. “I don’t recall any of this.”
Come on, man.
There’s no evidence that Tarrio worked undercover after 2014, but the fact that he had a connection to law enforcement—one that was apparently impressive enough to cut his prison time by nearly half—is noteworthy, especially considering the current legal quandary he is in. Two days before the January 6 Capitol riot, Tarrio was arrested in Washington, DC. He was charged with a misdemeanor and two felonies: destruction of property after allegedly setting fire to a Black Lives Matter flag at a local church during a pro-Trump march in December and possession of high capacity firearm magazines, which were on his person at the time of his arrest.
Tarrio’s denial makes a lot more sense now: It’s not a great look to have been outed as a rat when you’re the leader of an extremist group that routinely engages in illegal and nefarious activity. So, how much intel will Tarrio cough up to get a reduced sentence this time?