The director of a California police union was charged with importing and distributing synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, across the country.
Joanne Mariann Segovia, the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, was arrested and charged with illegally importing controlled substances.
The Justice Department alleges that Segovia arranged for 61 shipments to be sent to her home from abroad, including India, Hungary, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The packages were labeled “Wedding Party Favors,” “Gift Makeup,” “Food Supplement,” “Chocolate and Sweets,” and “Health Product,” but actually contained thousands of pills.
Investigators intercepted five of these packages between 2019 and 2023 and found them to contain dangerous synthetic opioids, including tramadol and tapentadol.
According to the indictment against her, Department of Homeland Security agents were tipped off about her involvement while investigating a network of distributors selling Indian-manufactured opioids in the San Francisco Bay Area.
After searching a person’s phone on the network, they found a “J Segovia’s” contact information, along with shipments to her home address.
Segovia originally collaborated with investigators and sat down for two voluntary interviews. During her first interview in February 2023, she initially claimed to know nothing about the pills, claiming “I wouldn’t even know where to start” with the process of ordering drugs online.
However, she refused to let investigators see her CashApp transaction history.
In her second voluntary interview, conducted March 14, Segovia blamed the shipments on her housekeeper, who she said used her CashApp account and smartphone to order the drugs to her home.
When investigators searched her smartphone, they found a WhatsApp conversation with a contact in India that often referred to her job with the police union.
“I’m so sorry, I’m on a business trip because we had 2 agents
shot! I should be home tomorrow night so I will get them shipped as soon as possible,” reads a message sent on May 2, 2022.
The WhatsApp conversation also included photos of “receipts” of packages sent, several of which appear to have been taken at her workplace.
“Several items are visible in the area in front of the monitor, including a San Jose Police Officers’ Association letter opener with a business card bearing Segovia’s name and notes with apparent POA-related codes,” her lawsuit states.
While detectives were searching Segovia’s shipments from India, another suspicious package addressed to the chief of the police union – this time from China – was intercepted.
The package, labeled ‘clock’, contained a kit to make a clock. However, it also contained adhesive stickers that concealed doses of the infamous synthetic opioid fentanyl.
“I believe Segovia stopped ordering controlled substances from its previous supplier (apparently based in India) after HSI Agents interviewed it in February 2023 and started ordering controlled substances from a new supplier, which ships from China,” states the investigative agent in Segovia’s criminal complaint.
With this evidence, investigators executed a search warrant at Segovia’s home. They discovered hundreds of pills, including 73 doses of tapentadol and 80 doses of orange pills simply labeled “G2.” They also discovered another 283 Tapentadol pills in Segovia’s office.
Segovia has since been placed on leave from her job with the San Jose Police Officers’ Association.
“The POA has fully and fully cooperated with federal authorities as they continue their investigation,” union spokesman Tom Saggau said.
Saggau also confirmed that Segovia has been a civilian associate of the association since 2002. “We had no reason to suspect her,” he said.
DHS informed the union that Segovia was under investigation on March 24 and said there was no reason to believe that other employees were involved in its scheme.
If convicted, Segovia faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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