Ex-Proud Boys national leader Enrique Tarrio sentenced to 22 years in Jan. 6 attack

Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio
Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced Monday for his part in orchestrating the far-right group’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
(Allison Dinner / Associated Press)
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Former Proud Boys national leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison Tuesday for a failed plot to keep former President Trump in power after the 2020 presidential election, capping one of the most significant prosecutions in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Tarrio, 39, of Miami, is the final Proud Boys leader convicted of seditious conspiracy in the attack to receive his punishment. Three fellow Proud Boys members found guilty by a Washington jury of the rarely used sedition charge were sentenced last week to prison terms ranging from 15 to 18 years.

Prosecutors had sought 33 years behind bars for Tarrio, who had been arrested and ordered to leave Washington by the time Proud Boys members joined thousands of Trump supporters in storming the Capitol as lawmakers met to certify President Biden’s election victory. But prosecutors say Tarrio organized and led the group’s assault from afar, inspiring followers with his charisma and penchant for propaganda.


“Using his powerful platform, Tarrio has repeatedly and publicly indicated that he has no regrets about what he helped make happen
on January 6,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

Tarrio was due to be sentenced last week in Washington’s federal court, but his hearing was delayed because U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly fell ill. Kelly, who was nominated to the bench by Trump, sentenced Tarrio’s co-defendants to lengthy prison terms — though far shorter than prosecutors had sought.

Ethan Nordean, who prosecutors said was the Proud Boys’ leader on the ground on Jan. 6, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, equaling the previous longest sentence in the attack. Prosecutors had asked for 27 years for Nordean, who was a Seattle-area Proud Boys chapter president.

The Proud Boys were ‘lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,’ prosecutor tells jurors.

April 24, 2023

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in a separate case, was also sentenced in May to 18 years in prison. Prosecutors, who had sought 25 years for Rhodes, are appealing his sentence and the punishments of other members of his anti-government militia group.

Tarrio’s lawyers had denied that the Proud Boys had any plan to attack the Capitol. They argued that prosecutors used Tarrio as a scapegoat for Trump, who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on Jan. 6 and urged his supporters to “fight like hell.”

“There is zero evidence to suggest Tarrio directed any participants to storm the U.S. Capitol building prior to or during the event,” his attorneys wrote in court papers. “Participating in a plan for the Proud Boys to protest on January 6 is not the same as directing others on the ground to storm the Capitol by any means necessary.”

Proud Boys members marching on the Capitol
Proud Boys members march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

In urging the judge to impose a lenient sentence, Tarrio’s lawyers noted in court papers that he has a history of cooperating with law enforcement. Court records uncovered in 2021 showed that he previously worked undercover and cooperated with investigators after he was accused of fraud in 2012.

Tarrio’s lawyers urged the judge “to see another side of him — one that is benevolent, cooperative with law enforcement, useful in the community, hardworking and with a tight-knit family unit and community support.”

Police arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the Jan. 6 riot on charges that he had defaced a Black Lives Matter banner during an earlier rally in the capital, but law enforcement officials later said he was arrested in part over concerns about the potential for unrest during the election certification. He complied with a judge’s order to leave the city after his arrest.

A member of the Proud Boys extremist group disappeared before his sentencing in a Jan. 6 Capitol riot case, in which prosecutors are seeking prison time.

Aug. 18, 2023

On Jan. 6, dozens of Proud Boys leaders, members and associates were among the first rioters to breach the Capitol. The mob’s assault overwhelmed police, forced lawmakers to flee the House and Senate chambers and disrupted the joint session of Congress for certifying Biden’s victory.

Tarrio had picked Nordean and Joseph Biggs to be his top lieutenants on that day and had created an encrypted Telegram group chat for group leaders to communicate, according to prosecutors. The backbone of the case against Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders was the messages they privately exchanged before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack.

“Make no mistake ... we did this,” Tarrio wrote to other group leaders.

Tarrio also posted encouraging messages on social media during the riot, expressing pride for what he was seeing unfold at the Capitol and urging his followers to stay there. He also posted a picture of rioters in the Senate chamber with the caption “1776.”


Officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, testify they’re still haunted by what they endured as judge weighs Oath Keepers’ sentences.

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Several days before the riot, a girlfriend sent Tarrio a document titled “1776 Returns.” It called for storming and occupying government buildings in Washington “for the purpose of getting the government to overturn the election results,” according to prosecutors.

More than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol attack. More than 600 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving prison terms.