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Four arrested on charges of plotting to murder a Secret Service agent

September 24, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In a manhunt through the Los Angeles suburbs Wednesday, federal agents arrested three men and were seeking a fourth on charges of plotting to kill a Secret Service agent.

Federal prosecutors said the agent was preparing a wire fraud case against Robert Kazarian, 33, who has been in federal custody since Aug. 25. Details of his case were not disclosed.

According to a criminal complaint, associates of Kazarian paid $15,000 to a cooperating witness who agreed to arrange to have the agent killed. The $15,000 was a down payment on a $50,000 fee, and was also to be used to buy a machine pistol for the killing, authorities said.

``Any defendant who thinks he can avoid criminal liability by eliminating the agent who investigated him is deluding himself,″ U.S. Attorney Nora Manella said in a statement. ``And those providing assistance will find themselves joining their colleagues in prison.″

FBI agents rounded up the suspects, searching addresses in the Los Angeles suburbs.

Arrested were Sahak ``Steve″ Mazmanyan, 39, Rafael Kazaryants, 43, and Panos Zhamkochyan, 29, of Los Angeles. The fourth man being sought was Arshak Kazarian, 37.

The three arrested, and Kazarian, were charged with conspiring to kill a federal agent.

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