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Proud Boys and leader Enrique Tarrio charged with seditious conspiracy over Jan. 6

These are the most aggressive federal charges against the Proud Boys

Published: June 6, 2022 3:59pm

Updated: June 6, 2022 4:50pm

The Department of Justice filed seditious conspiracy charges on Monday against Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other leaders of the organization over the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

These are the most aggressive federal charges against the Proud Boys, and the first from prosecutors alleging that the group attempted to use force to stop the transfer of presidential power.

The DOJ claimed in a press release that Tarrio created the "Ministry of Self Defense" in December 2020, and the four other co-defendants were all "leaders or members" of that group.

Tarrio, 38, of Miami, is charged alongside Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl, 37, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York. 

"On Jan. 6, 2021, the defendants directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, breaching of the Capitol building, and assaults on law enforcement. During and after the attack, Tarrio and his co-defendants claimed credit for what had happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room," the Justice Department stated.

All five Proud Boys who received superseding indictments from the federal grand jury are currently detained, the DOJ noted. The men pleaded not guilty to charges in earlier indictments.

The indictment comes after Proud Boy Charles Donohoe pleaded guilty in April "to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers," the DOJ stated. He agreed to cooperate with officials at this time, CNN reported.

Donohoe was not charged with conspiracy in Monday's indictment.

Tarrio was charged in March with conspiracy related to the Capitol riot for traveling to Washington, D.C., with the intent to obstruct the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote.

At the end of last month, a federal judge ordered that Tarrio remain in jail until his trial.

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