US Glendale cop tied to Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime, federal officials say

02:10  17 may  2018
02:10  17 may  2018 Source:

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Glendale cop tied to Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime , federal officials say .

John Saro Balian, a 45-year-old veteran officer with the Glendale Police Department, is suspected of lying to federal officials about his ties with the crime groups in California. A California narcotics detective tipped off members of the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime groups to

a man in a suit and tie © Times Community News As far back as 2015, a Glendale narcotics detective used burner phones to tip off gangsters about upcoming raids, once allowing a top target of federal law enforcement to elude arrest for a month, authorities said Tuesday.

John Saro Balian is also suspected of collaborating with other criminals to steal cars, presumably to sell abroad, and taking bribes to hunt people down.

When confronted by federal agents in four interviews over the last year, authorities say Balian, 45, lied about his ties to the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime in Southern California.

“I’m not [expletive] on anybody’s payroll,” he told the Los Angeles Police Department and FBI in one interview.

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Armenian Power Organized Crime Group Convicted For One Of The Largest Identity Theft And Bank Fraud Schemes. The gang had a cadre of younger members who were highly computer savvy, officials said . The Armenian Power organization began as a street gang based in Glendale and

The indictment also alleges that Armenian Power leaders had strong ties to organized crime in Armenia , Georgia and Russia. Officials said Armenian Power allegedly kidnapped a Glendale auto body shop owner and held him for a 0,000 ransom.

Now, the veteran officer who once served as the spokesman for the Glendale Police Department is facing up to five years in federal prison. Prosecutors this week charged Balian with one count of making false statements to federal investigators, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

“Mr. Balian moved in criminal circles and operated as though he was above the law by repeatedly lying to hide his criminal activity,” Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said in a statement. “His alleged actions impeded legitimate investigations into organized violent crime and consequently presented a threat to public safety.”

It’s unclear whether Balian has retained an attorney.

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In Los Angeles, the Armenian Power street gang was linked not only to the Sureño alliance and the Mexican Mafia prison gang, but also to their elders in the Armenian organized crime groups. Their criminal activity was centered around the cities of Glendale , Burbank, and Hollywood.

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials , organized crime Armenian Power collaborates with ‘Russian mafia ’ and Mexican and Latino street gangs of Los Angeles Photo Currently the Armenian Power headquarters are located in Glendale , a Los Angeles suburb whose

Balian was identified as a person of interest by the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, which in 2016 was probing ties between the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime.

Since then, three confidential informants have described a series of troubling interactions with the detective — known to them as “Saro” — that are detailed in a 47-page affidavit supporting the complaint. In some cases, Balian appears to have instigated clashes between the two sides, according to court records. Investigators corroborated some of the informants’ stories with cellphone records, police reports and interviews.

In one incident, Balian allegedly offered an informant and a second man $100,000 to “scare” the bodyguard of an Armenian businessman in Commerce, a request that led to a shooting in July 2016.

After the encounter, the second man spoke with the informant.

“I think I hit him,” he said, according to the filing. Later, he added, “I think I killed him.”

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Peter "Sana" Ojeda (second from l.) is seen in federal prison with his Mexican Mafia "carnals" (brothers). Moreno was a moneymaker for the Eme with ties to drug suppliers, identity theft rings and Armenian organized crime figures.

Authorities said Moreno made a quick rise through the Mexican Mafia and the up-and-coming gangster was seen as a top money-maker with ties to narcotics suppliers, Armenian organized crime figures and identity-theft rings.

The alleged shooter gave the gun to the informant, who said he gave the gun to Balian, according to the filing. It’s unclear whether the bodyguard lived.

In one case, that same informant described a situation in which Balian offered a tip about an FBI gang sweep, allowing a top target — a Frogtown gang member — to flee before agents arrived.

“Tell your boy Bouncer that he’s the No. 1 on the list for tomorrow,” Balian warned, according to the affidavit. It took agents another month to arrest the target.

The informant also said Balian gave him locations of marijuana grow and drug stash houses — information he was privy to as an officer — and told him to “hit them” before law enforcement could execute their search warrants, according to the court filing.

Balian also allegedly instructed him to “slap around” people to persuade them to pay money. Armenians would not respect or pay him, Balian told the informant, if they didn’t fear him, the filing said.

Another informant met with Balian up to 15 times in 2015 and occasionally saw him wearing a badge and a gun. That person admitted to stealing more than a dozen high-value cars for Balian and his associate, the filing said. He said he’d leave the keys inside the car and park it on a designated street, where someone else would pick it up.

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  At Boston Trial of ‘Cadillac Frank,’ a Who’s Who of Mobsters in Sensible Shoes Francis P. Salemme, a New England mafia leader, is on trial for a killing from a quarter-century ago. At 84, he arrived in court in a wheelchair.BOSTON — Francis P. Salemme, 84, arrived in federal court this week in a wheelchair, his hunched frame shrouded in a loose suit and his feet tucked into easy black sneakers. He gripped the arms of a wooden chair behind the defense table, gingerly rising for the jury’s arrival. His slight face, papery skin and wispy gray hair were a startling departure from his mug shots of long ago, back when his jaw was set like concrete.

Gang leaders wielded power among Armenian organized crime figures in Los Angeles, maintained ties with the Mexican Mafia and settled disputes with high-level Russian organized crime figures.

Eddie “ Criminal ” Garcia, a former 18th Street gang member with ties to Baldwin Park and El Sereno Garcia carried out the killing on the orders of leaders of Puente 13, who accused Dragna of keeping extortion payments on drug proceeds, or “taxes,” intended for the Mexican Mafia , officials said .

During a search of a third informant’s home, investigators found handwritten notes in the trash referencing “Saro” and possible cocaine shipments from Mexico. It’s unclear whether a transaction occurred and if Balian was involved.

Federal authorities Tuesday afternoon were searching Balian’s Seal Beach home, an FBI spokeswoman said. They were looking for evidence of racketeering, interference with commerce by robbery or extortion, and bribery, according to the affidavit.

Investigators first interviewed Balian in April of last year. He told them he was an expert on the Mexican Mafia when he worked for the Montebello Police Department, so he used to “stay on top of all these guys.”

Balian was one of five Armenian American officers who sued Glendale in 2010, alleging discrimination, retaliation and harassment. The city eventually agreed to settle the case, paying $7,500 in Balian’s attorney's fees, and depositing 250 hours of sick time and 50 hours of vacation time into his leave bank.

Twitter: @AleneTchek

Twitter: @LAcrimes


10 p.m.: This article was updated with more information from the affidavit.

7 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from an FBI official.

This article was originally published at 6:25 p.m.

FBI eyes Mexican Mafia control of Los Angeles County jails .
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