The executive director of the San Jose (CA) Police Officer’s Association is facing federal charges related to smuggling of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Joanne Marie Segovia, 64, allegedly used her personal and office computers to order thousands of opioid and other pills to her home and agreed to distribute the drugs elsewhere in the United States.
The complaint alleges that Segovia was apprehended as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into a network that was shipping controlled substances into the San Francisco Bay Area from abroad.
Federal authorities say that between October 2015 and January 2023, Segovia had at least 61 shipments mailed to her home, originating from countries including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore. The manifests for these shipments declared their contents with labels like “Wedding Party Favors,” “Gift Makeup,” or “Chocolate and Sweets.” But between July 2019 and January 2023, officials intercepted and opened five of these shipments and found they contained controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol. Certain parcels were valued at thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs.
The complaint alleges that Segovia used her office at the San Jose Police Officers’ Association to distribute controlled substances. For example, in spring 2021, Segovia was told by a supplier to send a package to a woman in North Carolina. Segovia then sent this supplier a photograph of a shipment made using the UPS account of San Jose Police Officers’ Association.
According to the complaint, Segovia continued to order controlled substances even after being interviewed by federal investigators in February 2023. On March 13, 2023, federal agents seized a parcel in Kentucky, containing valeryl fentanyl, addressed to Segovia. The package allegedly originated from China on March 10, 2023 and declared its contents as a “clock.”
Segovia is charged with attempt to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 952(a).
If convicted, Segovia faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years.
Segovia, a civilian employee, had been with the union, which represents San Jose police officers, for nearly 20 years, according to San Jose Police Officers Association President Sean Pritchard.
"I was shocked, became saddened, and as the days have gone by, I'm at a place where I'm now, I'm angry," Pritchard told San Francisco ABC station KGO.
Pritchard told KGO he became aware of the investigation a week ago after getting a call from federal authorities about the charges against Segovia.
"A woman who has helped fallen officers' families, helped organize fundraisers when officers' children are sick. That's the person we know," he said.