Crime rings targeted: Armenian, U.S. authorities working together

Armenian, U.S. authorities working together
By Alex Dobuzinskis , Staff Writer

Pasadena Star-News
Los Angeles Daily News
Feb 17 2005

Crime rings targeted

GLENDALE — Armenian officials are working with local law enforcement
agencies to fight organized crime rings that victimize residents in
the Southland and Armenia, officials said Wednesday.

The cooperative effort was discussed at the Glendale Police Department,
where John Evans, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, met with local
police officials.

“It’s the flip side really of globalization. So much of what happens
in the world today knows no international boundaries, and the same
can be said of crime today,’ Evans said.

Of particular concern are the crimes of money laundering, smuggling
and immigration fraud, officials said.

“There’s been significant amounts of money that have flown back
and forth that we’re concerned with,’ said Glendale police Chief
Randy Adams.

As many as 500 criminals are believed to be associated with Armenian
organized crime gangs in the Los Angeles area, said Sgt. Steve Davey of
the Glendale Police Department’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.

Adams said his department has sent detectives to Armenia to teach in
police academies there.

The contacts developed with Armenian police have led to the
apprehension of suspects, he said.

Within the past year, three fugitives have been brought back to
Los Angeles from Armenia to face murder or attempted murder charges
stemming from incidents in the east San Fernando Valley, officials

One of the suspects, a former truck driver from Burbank, was listed
as one of the FBI’s most wanted. Shahen Keshishian was arrested by
Armenian authorities in November and handed over to U.S. officials.
He is charged with murdering a Canoga Park man during a road- rage
incident in Universal City in 2000.

Armenia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States,
but that has not prevented authorities there from helping local law
enforcement agencies.

“When there is a will to be cooperative more things are possible then
when there is the opposite,’ Evans said, adding that officials hope
to negotiate an extradition treaty with Armenia, which does not have
the death penalty.