Well folks, it turns out the leader of the Proud Boys, the far-right extremist group currently under investigation for their involvement in the Capitol attack, once stood back and stood by -- to help law enforcement during several heists, according to a new Reuters investigation. Following Enrique Tarrio's 2013 arrest, where he faced federal fraud charges for participating in a scheme attempting to resell stolen diabetic test strips, the Proud Boys chairman helped the FBI and Miami police prosecute "more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling, and human smuggling," sometimes even going undercover, according to court transcripts.
"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," an attorney told the judge at the 2014 hearing, following Tarrio's guilty plea, in an attempt to get the future hate-group leader a reduced sentence. "He has in fact cooperated in a significant way," they added, noting his involvement helped prosecute 13 people. It seems the lawyer's shot at swaying the judge worked -- Tarrio's 30-month prison sentence was reduced down to 16 months.
Even with an abundance of evidence proving his cooperation with law enforcement, Tarrio has aggressively contested these reports, which first emerged in the media on Wednesday. "I don't know any of this," he told Reuters when asked about the transcript, in what may be the least-convincing denial in all of human history. "I don't recall any of this." Sure you don't, Tarrio. Sure you don't.
Furthermore, the federal prosecutor involved with the case spoke to the publication, further contradicting Tarrio's half-assed statement. "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," Vanessa Singh Johannes explained of Tarrio's role in the cases. Dude, seriously, who do you think you're fooling?
As NBC News pointed out, Tarrio's work with law enforcement comes before his involvement with the hate group, which was founded in 2016, and there is no proof indicating officers were aware of his involvement with these organizations. Yet even if they did know, their willingness to work with him would be duly unsurprising. The close ties between hate groups and law enforcement are no new phenomenon, rather a disturbing trend that has existed for decades. Last year, further evidence of this alarming connection was detailed in a new report from ex FBI agent, Michael German, arguing that law enforcement's responses to "known connections of law enforcement officers to violent racist and militant groups" are "strikingly insufficient."
"Obviously, only a tiny percentage of law enforcement officials are likely to be active members of white supremacist groups," he wrote in the August report, entitled Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement. "But one doesn't need access to secretive intelligence gathered in FBI terrorism investigations to find evidence of overt and explicit racism within law enforcement. Since 2000, law enforcement officials with alleged connections to white supremacist groups or far-right militant activities have been exposed in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and elsewhere."
Although expected, these connections are still incredibly alarming, a terrifying occurrence in our nation's governing body.
So, folks, in case you needed more proof the writers of 2020 have returned for 2021, there ya go. It's been a long year, and it's only January.