SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association (SJPOA) has been charged with attempting to illegally import a controlled substance, according to the United States Department of Justice.
Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, is accused of ordering thousands of opioids to her home and agreeing to distribute them in the United States.
A federal criminal complaint states that Segovia used her personal and office computers to order the drugs, including fentanyl, between October 2015 and January 2023. At least 61 shipments were mailed to her home from places like Hong Kong, Hungary, and India, the DOJ said.
“This is an incredibly disturbing allegation. No one is above the law, regardless of who their employer is,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “I want to thank U.S. Attorney Ramsey and his colleagues for aggressively pursuing the sources of fentanyl coming into our communities and holding drug-dealers accountable.”
Segovia has been with the SJPOA, a union that represents police officers in San Jose, since 2003.
Law enforcement first learned of the connection to Segovia when investigating a network in India that ships drugs into the United States. A network operative’s phone was searched, and Homeland Security agents found messages that mentioned “J Segovia” at an address in San Jose, including the words “180 pills SOMA 500mg,” the complaint shows.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection records showed that five shipments to Segovia’s address were intercepted between July 2019 and January 2023. The packages contained more than a kilogram of controlled substances such as Zolpidem (a sedative used to treat insomnia) and Tramadol (a narcotic used to treat pain), per the court document.
The packages mailed to Segovia’s home had innocuous labels, such as “Shirts Tops,” “Chocolate and Sweets” and “Gift Makeup,” according to the DOJ. Homeland Security said shipments from several foreign countries with such labels often contain illicit drugs.
When Segovia was interviewed by Homeland Security agents on Feb. 1, 2023, she claimed she ordered supplements that were nothing out of the ordinary. She also refused to show agents her CashApp transaction history, per court documents.
She was interviewed again on March 14, and blamed the orders on another woman whom she identified as a family friend and housekeeper who Segovia said suffered from a substance abuse disorder. According to Homeland Security, she made inconsistent statements about whether the woman had access to her cellphone.
Segovia later gave officers access to her WhatsApp account where they found messages referring to “soma” or “orange pills.”
Segovia was allegedly told to send a package to a woman in North Carolina in 2021. An image of the UPS receipt shows the signature “J Segovia” and the return address 1151 North Fourth St. – the address of the SJPOA’s office.
“I also believe the use of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association shipping label indicates that Segovia used her office as part of her purchasing and distribution of controlled substances,” Homeland Security Officer David Vargas wrote in the complaint.
On March 13, a controlled substance with the label “CLOCK” was seized in Kentucky, per the court document. The parcel originated from an address in China and was addressed to Segovia’s home. It contained a clock kit with white adhesive stickers or patches, on which valeryl fentanyl was found. Documents described valeryl fentanyl as a “synthetic fentanyl analogue and a Schedule I narcotic.”
Segovia completed a payment for suspected drug transactions on March 23, Homeland Security said. A day later, officers seized Tapentadol pills at Segovia’s home and her office. (Tapentadol is a prescription opioid pain medication.)
Vargas said he believes Segovia continued to order and pay for controlled substances after being interviewed by Homeland Security agents. He also believes Segovia knowingly gave false information to investigators.
Segovia is charged with an attempt to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.
The SJPOA said in a statement they were informed an employee was under investigation last Friday. The organization said they are “fully and completely cooperating” with federal law enforcement.
“The POA immediately placed the civilian employee on leave and as is standard procedure cut off all access to the POA,” the statement continued. “No additional individual at the POA is involved or had prior knowledge of the alleged acts. 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.”