The Northern District of California, U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a federal criminal complaint accusing the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers' Association of smuggling synthetic opioids into the country without authorization.
Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, who has worked for the San Jose Police Officers Association since 2003, was accused on Wednesday of trying to illegally import Valeryl fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has driven the overdose crisis in the United States. Segovia was under investigation in late 2022 officials said in the complaint, which was unsealed on Tuesday. Segovia faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison if found guilty, according to the authorities.
According to the complaint, Segovia was detained as part of a Homeland Security investigation into a network bringing controlled narcotics into the Bay Area from abroad. Her information was found on another network employee's phone.
Segovia reportedly continued to order controlled narcotics following his initial interview with federal agents in February. On March 14 she was re-interviewed, and this time she attempted to place the responsibility for the deliveries, WhatsApp conversations, and financial transactions on her cleaner.
Segovia may have "provided misleading information" to investigators, according to one investigator, the New York Post reported.
The allegations surprised police union president Sean Pritchard, who told NBC Bay Area that "She's been the grandma of the POA."
"This is not the person we've known, the person who has worked with fallen officers' families, organized fundraisers for officers' kids â just not who we've known over a decade."
Segovia allegedly received at least 61 shipments at her San Jose home from several countries, including China, Canada, and India, between October 2015 and January 2023, according to the 13-page lawsuit.
According to authorities, the shipments were labeled as nutritional supplements, wedding party favors, makeup, chocolates, and other goods to conceal the drugs.
Instead, the parcels contained a variety of medications, including dangerous synthetic opioids and Tapentadol, which is often used to relieve excruciating pain associated with diabetes-related nerve damage, the outlet reported.
According to the prosecution, Segovia also communicated via WhatsApp with a person using an Indian country code between January 2020 and March 2023. Segovia allegedly said, "im so sorry, im on a business trip because we had 2 officers that got shot! I should be home tomorrow night so ill get them shopped as soon as I can." in a message written on May 2, 2022.
Segovia allegedly used the San Jose Police Officers' Association UPS account to take a photo of a package she mailed to a woman in North Carolina.
Agents from Homeland Security discovered Segovia's enterprise while looking into an Indian drug-smuggling network.
According to the lawsuit, investigators found messages from the network that identified "J Segovia" and contained the words "180 pills SOMA 500mg" along with an address in San Jose.
Although she was employed by the police union prior to being suspended, Segovia is not believed to have a background in active law enforcement. Even after being questioned by federal officials in February 2023, the employee allegedly kept placing the orders for narcotics.
On March 13, Segovia was detained when authorities in Kentucky found a package addressed to her. According to investigators, the item, which was stamped "clock" on the outside, originated in China.