The former boss of the Proud Boys and four other members of the far-right extremist group have been hit with seditious conspiracy charges for their alleged roles in the Capitol riot, federal authorities said Monday.
Ex-Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio and his co-defendants – Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola – allegedly helped coordinate the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the indictment unsealed Monday.
All of the suspects – who had previously been indicted on separate conspiracy charges – were also charged with an additional count of conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.
They each face at least nine charges for their roles in the riot, which was launched by supporters of former President Donald Trump in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
According to the sedition indictment, Tarrio in December 2020 had created a chapter within the far-right group dubbed the “Ministry of Self Defense” for “national rally planning.”
On Jan. 6, the suspects – all of whom were leaders or members of the chapter – “directed” and “mobilized” rioters at the Capitol, which led to them to breach the grounds, destroy property and dismantle barricades, the feds allege.
Tarrio was not present at the siege as he was arrested in Washington DC two days prior and charged with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a church during a protest in December 2020. He had been ordered to leave the city ahead of the planned “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol.
Before he left the city on Jan. 5, according to the indictment, Tarrio met with Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, in an underground parking garage.
“When he left the city, Tarrio’s designated [Ministry of Self Defense] leaders, and other individuals … carried out the [Ministry of Self Defense] leadership’s objective,” the court papers state.
Tarrio and the other defendants are expected to appear in federal court in Washington, DC, on June 9.