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Proud Boys Leader Denies New Report That Claims He Was ‘Prolific’ Law Enforcement Informant

Proud Boys Leader Denies New Report That Claims He Was ‘Prolific’ Law Enforcement Informant


Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio is denying a report that claims he was an informant cooperating with federal and local law enforcement agencies several years ago.

According to an exclusive report published by Reuters on Wednesday, “Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling.” The outlet goes on to cite statements from a former federal prosecutor, an FBI agent, a Clinton-appointed federal judge, along with a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding, noting, “there is no evidence Tarrio has cooperated with authorities since then.”Tarrio, 36, said he had no recollection of ever collaborating with government agencies to that extent.

“I don’t know any of this,” Tarrio reportedly said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday. “I don’t recall any of this.”

Still, Reuters reports that “law enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial.”

Tarrio, who was arrested in 2012, acknowledged his fraud sentence had been reduced from 30 months to 16 months, but, according to the report, “insisted that leniency was provided only because he and his co-defendants helped investigators ‘clear up’ questions about his own case. He said he never helped investigate others.”

Reuters also spoke to Vanessa Singh Johannes, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s trial. She reportedly told the outlet 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.”

More from Reuters:

Tarrio’s then-lawyer Jeffrey Feiler said in court that his client had worked undercover in numerous investigations, one involving the sale of anabolic steroids, another regarding “wholesale prescription narcotics” and a third targeting human smuggling. He said Tarrio helped police uncover three marijuana grow houses, 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 said in court.

In an interview, Feiler said he did not recall details about the case but added, “The information I provided to the court was based on information provided to me by law enforcement and the prosecutor.”

The Washington Post referenced “a screed posted online” by Tarrio after the Reuters report was published. According to the Post, “Tarrio criticized the government and the media for disclosing his past activities, and argued that his cooperation was done with the full knowledge and participation of his co-defendants.” The outlet quoted Tarrio as writing, “They have proven that if you cooperate with the US government they will hang you out to dry…So my question is…is it worth it? That I leave up to y’all to decide.”

The excerpt appears to be from a much longer passage posted on a Telegram account believed to be manned by Tarrio. It said the Reuters report “sensationalizes the fact that in this case there was some heavy cooperating” while accusing the outlet of using unrelated cases to create “clickbait” to “demonize” Mr. Tarrio.

“You are seeing the media and government propaganda machine work in real time,” the account posted. “They’ve silenced us…demonetized us…used us as a scapegoat for their own failures…and most importantly…put us in f***ing chains. I was saying this years ago that the moment Donald Trump leaves office they will do everything in their power to stop us.”

Tarrio is based in Miami and became the national chairman of the Proud Boys in 2018, two years after its founding. Reuters describes the Proud Boys as an “extremist” and “right-wing” group that started out “protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity,” but “grew into a group with distinctive colors of yellow and black that embraced street fighting.”

In interviews with Reuters, Tarrio reportedly said there were times when he had alerted law enforcement before Proud Boys’ rallies in various cities. However, he ended that practice in mid-December after members of the group clashed with anti-Trump protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C., Tarrio said.

Tarrio claimed responsibility for burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a church during those December demonstrations. He was taken into custody shortly after arriving in D.C. on January 4, two days before the pro-Trump Save America rally. Law enforcement charged Tarrio with destruction of property and possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines that police had found in his backpack at the time of his arrest. They were both unloaded. Tarrio pleaded not guilty and was released on January 5 after being ordered by a judge to leave D.C. Although he did not participate in the Capitol breach the next day, at least five Proud Boys have been charged for their alleged roles.

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