Glendale Police Detective Accused of Lying to FBI About Ties to Mexican Mafia, Armenian Organized Crime

John Saro Balian is seen in a 2006 Los Angeles Times file photo taken after he became a Glendale police spokesman.

John Saro Balian is seen in a 2006 Los Angeles Times file photo taken after he became a Glendale police spokesman.

A Glendale police detective was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of lying to federal investigators to hide ties and collaborations with the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime in Southern California, authorities said.

John Saro Balian, a 45-year-old narcotics detective who had previously served as the department spokesman, is suspected of obstructing justice by tipping off gangsters about impending raids, providing false and misleading statements to federal agents and accepting a bribe, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Balian was identified as a person of interest in an FBI investigation and was interviewed several times.

The allegations listed in the affidavit largely come from confidential informants who described a series of interactions with Balian — who was known as “Saro” — dating from at least 2015. One informant met with Balian up to 15 times that year and occasionally saw him wearing a badge and a gun.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.