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California police union executive charged in opioid import case

A criminal complaint alleges Joanne Segovia, the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, had a fentanyl analogue and other controlled substances, shipped to her.

A San Jose, California, police union executive has been charged with trying to import a synthetic opioid into the U.S., which prosecutors said was uncovered in a probe into drug shipments into California and beyond.

Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, is charged with attempting to unlawfully import controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said Wednesday.

That charge relates to a March 13 intercepted package from China that contained valeryl fentanyl, which is an analogue — or chemically similar — of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, prosecutors said.

The opioid and oxycodone hydrochloride were found on stickers or patches inside the intercepted package from China, according to an affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations special agent filed along with the criminal complaint. The package was labeled “clock” and had a disassembled clock kit also inside.

Segovia was identified after the Department of Homeland Security investigated a network sending Indian-made controlled substances to the San Francisco Bay Area, and after two references to her were found in the phone of a "network operative," according to officials.

The affidavit cites other shipments, including thousands of pills that are controlled substances, from October 2015 and January 2023, including Zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia, and Tapentadol, an opioid.

Segovia attempted to blame those shipments on a housekeeper and family friend, according to the affidavit.

Investigators allegedly found messages believed to be someone in India regarding drugs, with mentions of police duties, like being busy because new officers had started that day, the affidavit says.

Segovia was charged with a criminal complaint that was filed Monday and unsealed Tuesday, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Online federal court records didn't list an attorney for Segovia Wednesday night. An initial court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

A spokesperson for The San Jose Police Officers’ Association said in a statement Thursday that Segovia was a civilian employee who had been placed on leave.

The union said it was informed Friday she was under investigation, and that no one else at the union is involved or had any 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," spokesperson Tom Saggau said.