The FBI on Tuesday said Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested in Washington, D.C. days before rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol because the
The FBI on Tuesday said Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested in Washington, D.C. days before rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol because the agency received intelligence that he was among those planning to violently interrupt Congress certifying the Electoral College votes.
Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said at a press conference Tuesday that the FBI spent weeks working “internally with every FBI field office to ensure that we were looking for any intelligence that may have developed about potential violence during the rally” on Jan. 6.
“We developed some intelligence that a number of individuals were planning to travel to the D.C. area with intentions to cause violence,” D’Antuono said. “We immediately shared that information and action was taken as demonstrated by the arrest of Enrique Tarrio by the Metropolitan Police Department the night before the rally.”
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In fact, Tarrio, who resides in Miami, was arrested by Metro Police Department officers on Jan. 4 – two days before the insurrection at the Capitol — “upon entering the District of Columbia and pursuant to a D.C. Superior Court Arrest Warrant,” police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz confirmed to Fox News.
“Other individuals were identified in other parts of the country and their travel subsequently disrupted,” D’Antuono said. “The FBI receives enormous amounts of information and intelligence and our job is to determine the credibility and viability of it under the laws and policies that govern FBI investigations.”
Tarrio was charged with destruction of property after allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner outside a historic Black church on Dec. 12. Police said Tarrio was found to be in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines. He was additionally charged with possession of a high-capacity feeding device.
On Jan. 5, a judge released Tarrio without bail but ordered him to stay out of the District of Columbia until his next court date on June 8. Thousands attended a “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6, where President Trump spoke from the Ellipse at the White House, decrying election results that showed Joe Biden being the winner.
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In a phone interview with the Miami Herald, Tarrio accused the FBI of using him as a scapegoat to cover up their own failures in identifying potential risks before the planned rally in D.C. He also condemned the violence carried out by rioters, describing how he watched “from my hotel room 100 miles away.”
“The people who killed that officer should be hunted down,” Tarrio told the newspaper, referring to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after he collapsed from injuries sustained while physically engaging with demonstrators at the Capitol. “But to use me as a stupid excuse, it just shows how inadequate and ineffective they are as an agency.”
“There was a heavy failure by law enforcement to not quell this earlier,” Tarrio said, referring to the FBI. “They should have rained tear gas down on the front of that Capitol to make sure no one got in.”
A day before rioters stormed the Capitol, the FBI field office in Norfolk, Va. issued a warning on Jan. 5 that extremists were planning to travel to D.C. to commit violence and start a “war” on Jan. 6, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday, citing an internal memo.
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It contradicts claims that law enforcement had limited intelligence about the potential security threat.
It was a matter of hours after Trump spoke on Jan. 6 that a crowd of his supporters breached the Capitol, as members of Congress sheltered in place. Rioters violently clashed with law enforcement, as both sides deployed pepper spray, and people in costumes and pro-Trump garb roamed halls, entered offices and the Senate chamber, took selfies and stole souvenirs.
Two pipe bombs were found at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees in D.C., and a pickup loaded with guns, gasoline-filled mason jars, and other materials was found parked outside the Capitol building. Five deaths have been linked to the violence.
A criminal complaint filed in a D.C. court included a copy of a post from Tarrio on the social media site Parler in which he discussed plans for Proud Boys to be at the rally, instructing members to wear black, the Herald reported.
In the past, members have been known to wear black and gold polo shirts with the Proud Boys insignia The complaint cited another post brought to the attention of the D.C. Metropolitan Police that included a picture of Proud Boys members on a smoke-filled street, captioned, “Lords of War.”
D’Antuono also said FBI investigators also work “to separate the aspirational from the intentional and determine which of the individuals saying despicable things on the internet are just practicing keyboard bravado or they actually have the intent to do harm.”
Another Proud Boys leader, who is president of the Hawaii chapter of the organization, was arrested and appeared in federal court in Honolulu after allegedly posting a photo of himself online smoking a cigarette during the insurrection on Jan. 6. Nicholas “Nick” R. Ochs was charged with unlawful entry into a restricted building or grounds and was released on a $5,000 bond.
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On Tuesday, FBI agents arrested a man at his home in Queens, N.Y. for allegedly making online threats to cause further violence in Washington in the days since the riot at the Capitol. A local newspaper identified him as a self-described Proud Boys member.