San Jose, Calif. police union director fired after being charged with illegally importing opioids

The San Jose Police Officers' Association has fired its executive director after she was charged with attempting to illegally import synthetic opioids.

Joanne Segovia, who headed the 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.

According to the complaint, Segovia used her home and office computer to order shipments of thousands of illicit pills from vendors in India and China. Starting in 2015, she received shipments at her home and, in at least one instance, mailed a package believed to contain pills to another part of the country, federal prosecutors say. Shipments labeled as “Wedding Party Favors,” “Shirts Tops,” and “Gift Makeup," were believed by investigators to have contained narcotics.

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Police association fires exec amid opioid trafficking investigation

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association fired Segovia Friday after completing the first phase of its internal investigation into the charges against her, the association said in a statement shared with USA TODAY.

The association, in the second phase of its investigation, is hiring an independent outside investigator to conduct a scrutinize to what extent Segovia used association resources. The investigator is also charged with determining "if current internal controls could have identified the alleged behavior," the statement 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,” association president Sean Pritchard said in a statement. “The independent outside investigator will conduct a no-holds-barred examination of our operations and will get the full cooperation from the POA,” added Pritchard.

San Jose police exec identified in federal drug probe

Segovia, 64, is not a police officer, but she had worked at the association since 2003,according to an archived staff page on the association’s website.

Her attorney, Will Edelman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday from the Associated Press.

Federal agents were led to Segovia late last year during an investigation into a San Francisco Bay Area drug trafficking network importing opioids from India. Agents seized a suspected trafficker’s phone and found encrypted messages from early September 2022 identifying “J Segovia” with a home address in San Jose as an apparent recipient of pills, court records show.

The next court appearance for Segovia is scheduled for April 28.

U.S. vs. Joanne Marian Segovia by Mike Snider on Scribd

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California police union director fired after opioid smuggling charge