GLENDALE, California — A Glendale police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges he lied to investigators about his ties to organized crime figures.
Detective John Saro Balian, 45, a Seal Beach resident, lied on multiple occasions to law enforcement agencies about his contacts with members of the Mexican Mafia and Armenian organized crime, federal officials say.
They allege Balian was in contact with several gang members. He has been taking money from them in exchange for information and tipping them off about raids on marijuana grows. They also say he helped dispose of a firearm that was used in a shooting and was involved in extortion plots.
They say he misled investigators with the FBI, the LAPD and Homeland Security about his relationships with those organized crime figures.
Balian was arrested at his home without incident.
If convicted of making false statements to federal investigators, he faces up to five years in federal prison.
The Glendale Police Department said it is cooperating with the investigation and Balian is on administrative leave without pay during the investigation.