Glendale Detective Pleads Guilty to Obstruction, Lying to Feds About Ties to Organized Crime

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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 narcotics detective pleaded guilty this week to charges that he lied to federal investigators about his links to organized crime and tipped off the Mexican Mafia about an upcoming gang sweep, helping a top target avoid arrest, court records show.

John Saro Balian, 45, of Seal Beach pleaded guilty to one count each of soliciting a bribe, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal investigators as part of a plea agreement he reached with prosecutors. The document was ordered to be filed under seal but appeared on PACER, a public online database for court documents.

According to the agreement, filed in U.S. District Court, Balian agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in interviews and court proceedings. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September, when prosecutors are expected to recommend a reduced sentence.

The charges to which he pleaded guilty carry a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Editor’s note: This story was temporarily edited to reflect changes the Los Angeles Times made to its original story on the order of a federal judge. The judge’s order was issued Saturday in response to Balian’s attorney’s request for a temporary restraining order; the Times filed an emergency motion to stay the order. On Tuesday, the judge lifted his order.

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