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Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer 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.
In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and 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.
arrio, in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, denied working undercover or cooperating in cases against others. “I don’t know any of this,’” he said, when asked about the transcript. “I don’t recall any of this.”
Law enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. 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.”
Tarrio, 36, is a high-profile figure who organizes and leads the rightwing Proud Boys in their confrontations with those they believe to be antifa, short for “anti-fascism”, an amorphous and often violent leftist movement. The Proud Boys were involved in the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January.
The records uncovered by Reuters are startling because they show that a leader of a far-right group now under intense scrutiny by law enforcement was previously an active collaborator with criminal investigators.