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Proud Boys leader indicted in Jan. 6 conspiracy ordered detained until trial

A federal magistrate judge in Miami ordered Enrique Tarrio held after he was indicted in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Image: Enrique Tarrio
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, holds a U.S. flag at a protest supporting Cubans demonstrating against their government in Miami on July 16.Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A former national chairman of the right-wing Proud Boys organization was ordered detained until trial Tuesday following his indictment and arrest in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A federal magistrate judge in Florida ordered Enrique Tarrio detained after a detention hearing in Miami. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting Jan. 6 cases, confirmed the judge's decision. Neither of Tarrio's attorneys immediately responded to a request for comment.

Federal prosecutors argued in a detention memo Monday evening that no conditions of release could ensure the public's safety and Tarrio's future appearances in court if he were released. The prosecutors also argued that Tarrio had made "public comments aimed at chilling witnesses against his co-conspirators" and had taken steps to evade law enforcement.

Five people accused of being Tarrio’s co-conspirators had also been ordered detained pending trial. Tarrio is charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, one count of obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder, two counts of destruction of government property and two counts of assaulting, resisting and impeding certain officers.

Federal authorities say Tarrio created a new chapter of the Proud Boys titled the “Ministry of Self Defense” in late December 2020 and communicated with the members over an encrypted app.

Tarrio wasn't at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He had been arrested when he arrived in Washington on Jan. 4 because he burned a #BLACKLIVESMATTER banner in the nation's capital the previous month, when supporters of President Donald Trump had gathered in support of his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

After Tarrio was arrested and released Jan. 5, he met with Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III and others in the parking garage near the Capitol. Video of the encounter was recorded by a documentary crew, and, according to the feds, it included audio of a person referring to the Capitol.

Tarrio sent a message after the Capitol attack to other Proud Boys members saying they should "Do it again," prosecutors allege.

The Justice Department argued that there was a "serious risk that Tarrio would seek to tamper with key witnesses or evidence" if he were released pending trial and that Tarrio had a "cavalier attitude towards the law," citing his seven adult arrests and three convictions.

Tarrio, prosecutors argued, "spearheaded" a conspiracy to obstruct certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

"A grand jury has found probable cause to believe that Tarrio was a lead orchestrator of plot to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding — specifically, a plot that included an attack on the Capitol while a Joint Session of Congress reviewed the election results. He encouraged the mob to stay in the building and suggested to close confidants that they should do it again," prosecutors wrote. "In so doing, Tarrio showed a contempt for the laws and Constitution of this country that make it impossible to trust that he would comply with any conditions fashioned by this Court for his release."