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Executive Director of California Police Association Accused of Running Illegal Drug Distribution Business, Charged with Importing Fentanyl

by Jo Ellen Nott

On March 28, 2023, a criminal indictment from the Department of Justice was unsealed accusing Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, of importing thousands of opioids and other pills from abroad to her home in San Jose, California, with an intent to distribute them elsewhere in the U.S.   

Segovia, the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association (“SJPOA”), allegedly used her personal and office computers to order the controlled substances from Hong Kong, Hungary, and India, according to the complaint. Segovia ordered popular drugs such as the generic form of Ambien known as Zolpidem, a narcotic used to treat pain, Tramadol, the muscle relaxer Soma, and more disturbingly, fentanyl.  

Between 2015 and 2023, at least 61 shipments arrived in California with innocent labels such as Wedding Favors, Shirt Tops, Chocolate and Sweets, and Gift Makeup. Shipments with that labeling often tip Homeland Security agents to the presence of illicit drugs. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) became aware of the connection to Segovia when investigating a network in India that ships drugs into the U.S.  

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted five shipments to Segovia’s address between July 2019 and January 2023, containing more than a kilo of Zolpidem and Tramadol.  They also discovered that Segovia at times used her office at the SJPOA as a shipping point.

Segovia at first told Homeland Security agents the shipments were supplements. During an interview on February 1, 2023, Segovia refused to show agents her CashApp transaction history. She would later tell HSI in March that her housekeeper who struggles with substance abuse had placed the orders. 

When Segovia gave officers access to her Whatsapp account, hundreds of messages were found referring to soma or “orange pills.” 

On March 13, 2023, a package that had originated in China, passed through Segovia’s home, and was seized in Kentucky contained a clock kit with white adhesive stickers containing valeryl fentanyl. The drug is a “synthetic fentanyl analogue and a Schedule I narcotic,” according to the complaint.

Despite being interviewed by HSI, Segovia continued to order and pay for illicit drugs after giving false information to the investigators.  

Segovia is charged with an attempt to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 952(a). If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release.

Source: Kron4 News, United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of California press release

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