Police union director fired after opioid smuggling arrest

Opioid Crisis-CVS
Posted at 2:23 PM, Apr 07, 2023

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The executive director for a Northern California police union who was charged with attempting to illegally import synthetic opioids from India and other countries has been fired from her job, officials said Friday.

Joanne Marian Segovia, who was the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, was arrested last week on charges she attempted to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

Starting in 2015, Segovia had dozens of drug shipments mailed to her San Jose home from India, Hong Kong, Hungary, and Singapore with manifests listing their contents as “wedding party favors,” “gift makeup,” “chocolate and sweets” and “food supplement,” according to a federal criminal complaint.

Segovia, 64, at times used her work computer to make the orders and at least once used the union’s UPS account to ship the drugs within the country, federal prosecutors said.

Her attorney, Will Edelman, did not immediately respond Friday to a voicemail seeking comment.

The police association fired her after completing an initial internal investigation, union officials said in a statement.

An outside investigator will be hired to conduct a comprehensive “no-holds-barred” probe of Segovia’s alleged crimes, determine to what extent she utilized union resources and whether that could have been prevented, they said.

“The abhorrent criminal conduct alleged against Ms. Segovia must be the impetus to ensuring our internal controls at the POA are strong and that we enact any changes that could have identified the alleged conduct sooner,” said Sean Pritchard, president of the union.

Federal officials began investigating Segovia last year after finding her name and home address on the cellphone of a suspected drug dealer who is part of a network that ships controlled substances made in India to the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the complaint. That drug trafficking network has distributed hundreds of thousands of pills in 48 states, federal prosecutors said.