Report: Proud Boys Leader Was A ‘Prolific’ FBI Informant

Tarrio repeatedly worked undercover with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on cases involving drugs, human smuggling and gambling, his own lawyer, a federal prosecutor and an FBI agent all said during a 2014 court hearing, Reuters report. 

The right-wing leader allegedly turned informant after he was arrested in 2012 for fraud.

Tarrio’s sentence — he pled guilty — was reduced from 30 months to 16, something he attributed to helping investigators resolve his own case, not others.

In an interview with Reuters, Tarrio denied helping authorities investigate anyone and said he did not recall the contents of the court transcript.

“I don’t recall any of this,” he said, flatly contradicting a statement from former federal prosecutor Vanessa Singh Johannes, who worked on Tarrio’s case, who confirmed Tarrio’s cooperation to Reuters.

“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,” Johannes said.

Forbes could not reach Tarrio for comment. 

Crucial Quote

Tarrio’s then lawyer Jeffrey Feiler told the 2014 court that his client was a “prolific” cooperator who helped in numerous investigations. At the same hearing, an FBI agent said Tarrio was a “key component” in local police investigations. 

KEY BACKGROUND

The right-wing Proud Boys, which Canadian legislators recently pushed the Trudeau government to designate a “terrorist entity,” have clashed with racial justice protesters, and attended demonstrations seeking to overturn the election. In a presidential debate, then President Trump famously refused to condemn white supremacists and instead told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Officials are investigating the role groups like the Proud Boys played in the Capitol riot and at least six members have been charged in connection with it. Tarrio was not present for the Capitol riot as he had been arrested in D.C. two days before and subsequently banned from attending protests in the area.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

With the group under investigation over allegations it orchestrated violence at the Capitol riot, Tarrio’s previous involvement with police will likely come under scrutiny. Reuters reports that in multiple interviews, Tarrio said that he would let police know of the Proud Boys’ plans before rallying in a number of different cities. This stopped in December when the police cracked down on the group and there is no evidence of Tarrio having collaborated with authorities since the 2014 case mentioned in court records.

source: Forbes.com by Robert Hart

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