Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio received 22 years in federal prison on Tuesday, a record-high sentence for the January 6, 2021, defendants.
Tarrio’s 22-year sentence surpasses Oath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes and former Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean’s previous record-high 18-year prison sentence.
The 39-year-old was not in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, due to his arrest in the city two days prior for allegedly defacing a Black Lives Matter banner. After his arrest, a judge ordered him to leave the nation’s capital, so Tarrio spent the majority of January 6, 2021, at a Baltimore hotel.
However, prosecutors said Tarrio’s absence from the city on that day “does nothing to detract from the severity of his conduct,” because he “was a general rather than a soldier.”
Federal prosecutors said Tarrio is a “gifted communicator who excels at attracting followers” who “used those talents to inflame and radicalize untold numbers of followers, promoting political violence in general and orchestrating the charged conspiracies in particular.”
“To Tarrio, January 6 was an act of revolution,” prosecutors added.
Tarrio was one of four Proud Boys convicted of seditious conspiracy after a trial in May. Judge Timothy Kelly applied a terrorism sentencing enhancement, as he did with some of Tarrio’s co-defendants.
Tarrio’s attorney, Sabino Jauregui, fought back against the terrorism label, arguing that Tarrio is a “misguided patriot.”
“My client is no terrorist. My client is a misguided patriot,” Jauregui said.
“My client comes from a country where there are no rights, there’s nothing,” Jauregui said in a nod to Tarrio’s Cuban heritage. “He was trying to protect this country, as misguided as he was.”
Tarrio offered his apologies to law enforcement officials who responded to the Capitol riot before the judge handed down the 22-year sentence.
“To the men and women of law enforcement who answered the call that day, I’m sorry,” Tarrio said. “I have always tried to hold myself to a higher standard, and I failed. I failed miserably. I thought of myself morally above others, and this trial has humbled me.”
“I am not a political zealot,” Tarrio added. “When I get back home, I want nothing to do with politics, groups, activism or rallies.”
More than 1,100 individuals have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, and about 300 have been incarcerated.