Leader of Proud Boys Indicted in Federal Court for Conspiracy and Other Offenses Related to U.S. Capitol Breach
Five Others Facing Charges in Case
WASHINGTON – Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the former national chairman of the Proud Boys, was arrested today following his indictment on conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Tarrio, 38, of Miami, Florida, was arrested in Miami and is to make his initial appearance today in the Southern District of Florida. He was named in a superseding indictment returned Monday in the District of Columbia that also includes five previously charged defendants.
Others named in the superseding indictment include Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl, 36, of Philadelphia; Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York. All previously were detained. They earlier pleaded not guilty to charges.
According to court documents, the Proud Boys describes itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world, aka Western Chauvinists.” Through at least Jan. 6, 2021, Tarrio was the national chairman of the organization. In mid-December, Tarrio created a special chapter of the Proud Boys known as the “Ministry of Self Defense.”
As alleged in the indictment, from in or around December 2020, Tarrio and his co-defendants, all of whom were leaders or members of the Ministry of Self Defense, conspired to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, the certification of the Electoral College vote. On Jan. 6, the defendants directed, mobilized, and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, and assaults on law enforcement.
Although Tarrio is not accused of physically taking part in the breach of the Capitol, the indictment alleges that he led the advance planning and remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys during their breach of the Capitol. Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, 2021, on a warrant charging him in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia with destruction of property in the Dec. 12, 2020, burning of a Black Lives Matter banner. He was released at approximately 5 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2021. As a condition of his release, he was ordered by the Court to stay out of Washington.
The indictment alleges that Tarrio nonetheless continued to direct and encourage the Proud Boys prior to and during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and that he claimed credit for what had happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room during and after the attack.
Tarrio was indicted on one count of each conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as two counts each of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and destruction of government property.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Miami Field Offices. The charges in the investigation are the result of significant cooperation between agents and staff across numerous FBI Field Offices, and law enforcement agencies.
In the 14 months since Jan. 6, more than 775 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 245 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.