Enrique Tarrio Faces Three Years in Jail Over Weapon Charges Outlined in Court Files

The leader of the Proud Boys group has appeared in court over allegedly setting fire to a Black Lives Matter flag and weapons charges that carry a jail term of up to three years.

Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the far-right organisation, was released from custody on Tuesday but ordered to leave Washington, D.C. by a judge as thousands of extremists gather in the capital to protest the election results on Wednesday.

Tarrio, who was arrested on January 4 while entering the District of Columbia, was held on suspicion of destruction of property in connection to the flag burning. The flag had been torn from the Asbury United Methodist Church on December 12 following a previous pro-Trump protest in D.C.

Tarrio is also facing weapons charges after police allegedly found him in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines ahead of the demonstrations on Wednesday to coincide with the Congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory.

Court documents state that the firearm magazines bore the Proud Boys logo.

Tarrio told officers he had the magazines with him because he sold them on his website and was delivering them personally to a customer in D.C following a mix-up with delivery, reported WTOP.

Tarrio pleaded not guilty to both the destruction of property and weapons charges through his attorney Lucas Dansie.

According to state law, a person convicted of possessing a large-capacity ammunition feeding device in violation faces up to three years in prison and a fine.

Washington D.C. has strict firearms laws, including a ban on carrying guns openly. It is also illegal to conceal-carry a firearm in the city unless the holder has a concealed pistol license issued by the District of Columbia.

The judge barred Tarrio from entering D.C. with very limited exceptions to meet with his attorney or to reappear in court, reported Associated Press.

Dansie requested that his client, who lives in Miami, only be ordered to stay away from Black Lives Matter Plaza and the surrounding areas where large gatherings take place.

However, D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond rejected the request, citing Tarrio's posts on social media that suggest he would vandalize Black Lives Matter signs.

"There are Black Lives Matter banners, posters, placards, signs in front of people's homes and the like throughout Washington, D.C.," the judge said, according to WTOP. "So, I'm denying your request."

Last month, Tarrio said he had set the BLM banner alight, but denied it was racially motivated. Tarrio also boasted about the act on social media site Parler, including one meme suggesting "I'll f****** do it again" along with the caption "Ayo ... Pass me the lighter."

On December 14, the Metropolitan Police Department issued images of the men they wanted to speak to in connection with the flag burning. While Tarrio does not appear to be among the suspects, he did post a picture on Parler of himself with two other men using lighters to ignite the sign.

According to court documents seen by WTOP, police said that while videos from the scene show Tarrio participating in the flag burning, none of the clips appear to show Tarrio actually lighting it.

On Monday, Matt Couch, a conspiracy theorist with ties to the Proud Boys, claimed that Tarrio was "taking the fall" for others.

Tarrio's attorney has been contacted for comment.

Enrique Tarrio
Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys at a 2019 march in Portland, Oregon. A judge has banned Tarrio from Washington, D.C. JOHN RUDOFF/AFP/Getty