As the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio holds a unique position amidst a politically ideological group whose public perception is one that is generally known to only be accepting of white cis men who claim right-wing affiliation. The proudly Latino leader, who most recently has made headlines for allegedly acting as a government informant for some years, has a public image that is largely shrouded in controversy and confusion.
So, who exactly is Enrique? Furthermore, what is his true racial identity and how does that tie into his relationship with what is often regarded as the most extreme of far-right extremist groups in the U.S.?
Enrique Tarrio identifies his race specifically as Afro-Cuban.
Enrique, real name Henry, was born in 1984 and raised in Little Havana, a Latino community in Miami, Florida. He has spoken about his racial identity briefly at points, referring to himself as Afro-Cuban and claiming that due to the fact that his organization chose a Latino as their de-facto leader, they aren't rooted in racist beliefs.
Enrique is the owner of the 1776 shop, a T-shirt business run out of Miami that sells an array of Proud Boys merchandise as well as other various right-wing-related garments. He was previously a poultry farmer, security equipment installer, and worked in GPS tracking solutions before taking on his role in the Proud Boys wholly.
The controversial figurehead is also the leader of the Latinos for Trump movement, which had a significant footing in Southern Florida ahead of the 2020 election. Enrique also made a bid for Congress in Florida's 27th district in 2020, but he decided to withdraw from the race ahead of the Republican party primary.
Enrique Tarrio acted as a government informant about a decade ago.
Per Reuters, it was revealed that Enrique has not always operated on the fringe of the law, in fact, he once cooperated with various government agencies to help take down the very same unscrupulous individuals that he is grouped in with today.
Although the Proud Boys leader denied the affiliation to the publication, saying "I don't know any of this" and "I don't recall any of this" when asked about the revealing documents, court records from 2014 provide great detail into his undercover work. During his tenure working with officers, Enrique aided in the arrests of more than a dozen people involved in drugs, gambling, and human trafficking.
According to official records of his joint efforts with government agencies, "he [Enrique] cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes."