Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has previously worked as an informant for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters.
Tarrio, 36, began working with the FBI after his arrest on federal fraud charges related to a scheme to sell stolen diabetic test strips well below market value, according to court transcripts reviewed by NBC News.
“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,” a prosecutor told the judge at a court hearing after he pleaded guilty.
In arguing for a reduced sentence for Tarrio,
The prosecutor, in arguing for a reduced sentence for Tarrio, said he had helped federal law enforcement prosecute 13 other people in two separate indictments.
“He has in fact cooperated in a significant way,” the prosecutor said at the 2014 hearing.
The judge agreed to reduce Tarrio’s sentence from 30 months in prison to 16 months, the court documents show.
Tarrio was arrested in Washington, D.C. Jan. 4, just two days before the storming of the Capitol. He was charged with possessing two high-capacity gun magazines and destroying a Black Lives Matter sign at a historic church in the nation’s capital.
In an interview with Reuters, Tarrio denied working with the police.
“I don’t know any of this,” he said, when asked about the transcript. “I don’t recall any of this.”
FBI Special Agent Rod Novales told the judge that he was aware of Tarrio’s work with a Miami PD detective on an illegal gambling operation.
“In fact, I had a drive-by surveillance with Henry Tarrio where he showed me the two locations that were engaged in illegal gambling,” Novales told the court.
Tarrio’s then-attorney, Jeffrey Feiler, said in court that his client had worked undercover in multiple investigations involving human smuggling, the sale of anabolic steroids and prescription narcotics.
Feiler said Tarrio was a “prolific” cooperator who put himself at risk in the smuggling case and “negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country.”