The executive director of a police union in California has been charged with running a drug operation from her home using her office to procure and distribute the deadly opioid fentanyl across the U.S.
Joanne Marian Segovia, who worked as the union director for the San Jose Police Officers Association since 2003, was charged with illicitly bringing in Valeryl fentanyl – a synthetic opioid.
Segovia faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, Sean Pritchard, said he was shocked by the charges against Segovia, who was the union’s longtime executive director.
“She’s been the grandma of the POA,” Pritchard told NBC.
“This is not the person we’ve known, the person who has worked with fallen officers’ families, organized fundraisers for officers’ kids – just not who we’ve known over a decade.”
“We have the hardest working, most dedicated, committed officers there is,” he continued. “This is no reflection of who they are as individuals, what they do for our community, nor what they stand for as a profession.”
Segovia would import packages hiding drugs inside, the Justice Department said:
The complaint alleges 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 that they contained thousands of pills of controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol. Certain parcels were valued at thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs.
According to the DOJ, Segovia abused her position at the POA to run her drug trafficking operation:
Also alleged is that Segovia used encrypted WhatsApp communications to plan the logistics for receiving and sending pill shipments. For example, the complaint describes a three-year period between January 2020 and March 2023 during which Segovia is alleged to have exchanged hundreds of messages with someone using a phone with an India country code. The messages discussed details for shipping and payment of pills and contained hundreds of pictures of tablets, shipping labels, packaging, payment receipts, and payment confirmations.
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.
The Mayor of San Jose, Matt Mahan, said the allegation was “incredibly disturbing.”
“This is an incredibly disturbing allegation,” he said. “I want to thank U.S. Attorney [Ismail] Ramsey and his colleagues for aggressively pursuing the sources of fentanyl coming into our communities and holding drug dealers accountable.”
Fentanyl is considered one of the most pressing social issues in the U.S., with the majority of the drug entering the country through the southern border.
As The Daily Fetched reported in December, Fentanyl overdose deaths in Los Angeles alone skyrocketed 1,280% over the past five years.
Among the deaths, the highest fell into adults aged 26 to 39 who live in affluent areas.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, this was followed by the age range of 40 to 64.
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