The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, has been charged with conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, as part of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the attack.
According to an indictment unsealed in federal court on Tuesday, Tarrio — though he wasn’t present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — was instrumental in planning the riot.
Tarrio was arrested and released two days before the attack on separate charges stemming from an incident in November 2020, and was ordered to stay out of Washington, D.C., during the time frame surrounding the riot.
“The indictment alleges that Tarrio nonetheless continued to direct and encourage the Proud Boys prior to and during the events of Jan. 6, 2021,” said a statement from the Justice Department, “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 Tuesday 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.
He was arrested in South Florida following the indictment.
In an interview last month with a local news station in Miami, Tarrio said he doesn’t agree with or condone what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“We went to Washington, D.C., with the intent of sitting there and supporting President Trump and then drink beer after, and obviously, I wasn’t there and I can’t tell you what was in their heads, but I think the mob mentality just took over,” he told WTVJ.
Tarrio has not yet spoken to ABC News regarding Tuesday’s indictment.
The indictment of Tarrio “shows the complex nature of the ongoing investigation,” Javed Ali, former senior counterterrorism director at the National Security Council, told ABC News.
“Despite the fact Tarrio was not physically present at the Capitol that day, the charge suggests that he played a role in organizing and communicating with other Proud Boys associates who committed crimes and have likewise been charged and arrested,” said Ali.
“In combination with the seditious conspiracy charges filed against Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and several of his associates for their role on January 6th earlier this year, these legal strategies may put additional pressure on anti-government groups and deter any potential future violent plots,” he said.
By Luke Barr