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Calif. police union exec. charged with attempting to illegally import opioids

Joanne Marian Segovia was arrested in an ongoing investigation into a network that was shipping controlled substances to the Bay Area from abroad


Photo/Liz O. Baylen via MCT

By Jason Green
Bay Area News Group

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The long-time front office manager for the San Jose Police Officers Association allegedly used her work computer to order controlled substances from abroad, including an analog version of fentanyl, and distributed the drugs from her office, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the SJPOA since 2003, is charged with attempting to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

Filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, the 13-page complaint contends that Segovia, 64, was arrested as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into a network that was shipping controlled substances to the Bay Area from abroad.

At least 61 packages were delivered to Segovia’s home in San Jose between October 2015 and January 2023, according to the complaint. Manifests for the packages – which were sent from countries including India, China and Canada – reportedly listed their contents as “wedding party favors,” “shirts tops,” “gift makeup,” “chocolate and sweets,” “food supplement,” “health product” and “supplement.”

The complaint contends that authorities opened five of the packages between July 2019 and January 2023 and found that they actually contained thousands of dollars’ worth of controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids tramadol and tapentadol.

Segovia allegedly used her work computer and office to order and distribute the drugs, according to the complaint. In one case, she was told by a supplier to send a package to a person in North Carolina, after which she sent the supplier a photo of the shipment being made using the police union’s UPS account, the complaint contends.

Segovia is also accused of using WhatsApp to plan the shipping and receiving of the substances. Between January 2020 and March 2023, she exchanged hundreds of messages with someone using a phone with an India country code; the messages discussed shipping and payment details and contained photos of tablets, shipping labels, packaging, receipts and payment confirmation, according to the complaint.

In one message sent on May 2, 2022, Segovia reportedly wrote, “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 shipped as soon as I can.”

Homeland Security agents interviewed Segovia in February, but she continued to order controlled substances, the complaint contends. On March 13, authorities seized a package addressed to her that contained .9 grams of valeryl fentanyl – it had been shipped from China and its contents were labeled as “clock,” according to the complaint.

A search warrant was served at Segovia’s home and the SJPOA office on March 24. The complaint contends that 283 tapentadol pills were seized at the latter location.

Union spokesperson Tom Saggau said the union learned last week that one of its civilian employees was under investigation for distribution of a controlled substance. The union, he added, immediately placed Segovia on leave and cut off all access to the SJPOA.

“No one at the POA is involved or had prior knowledge of the alleged acts,” Saggau said. “The Board of Directors is saddened and disappointed at hearing this news and we have pledged to provide our full support to the investigative authorities.”

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