Joanne Segovia, a prominent figure in the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, one of California’s largest police unions, has been charged with importing fentanyl, muscle relaxers, and various other drugs through the mail.
The accusations also include an alleged attempt to shift blame onto her housekeeper once federal agents began investigating the illegal operation.
According to prosecutors, 64-year-old Joanne Segovia, the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, orchestrated “a scheme to bring synthetic opioids into the country and distribute them throughout the United States.”
A criminal complaint filed on March 27 unveiled that Segovia had received at least 61 suspected drug shipments over the past seven years. These packages, disguised as innocent items such as “Wedding Party Favors,” “Gift Makeup,” and “Chocolate and Sweets,” originated from various locations worldwide.
In a recent discovery, investigators intercepted a package from China addressed to Segovia’s residence, containing a clock. However, hidden within adhesive stickers were fentanyl and another opioid. This finding further solidified the allegations against Segovia.
Segovia’s first court appearance is scheduled for Friday afternoon in San Jose, where she is expected to respond to the charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, responsible for prosecuting the case, confirmed that Segovia is not currently detained in federal custody pending her arraignment.
The complaint alleges that Segovia was apprehended as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into a network that was shipping controlled substances into the San Francisco Bay Area from abroad.
Segovia, a civilian employee of the San Jose police union since 2003, held the position of executive director and was considered a prominent figure within the organization.
With over 1,000 officers represented by the union, Segovia’s arrest has sent shockwaves through the community. Ironically, while the union had been advocating for stricter laws against fentanyl in California, evidence suggests that Segovia had been using her position to engage in drug deals, ordering thousands of pills from international suppliers, primarily suspected to be located in India.
Photographs included in the charging documents show Segovia using police union shipping labels after repackaging the prescription medications, which included various sedatives and painkillers.
Tom Saggau, the spokesperson for the San Jose Police Officers Association, expressed the organization’s cooperation with federal authorities in their ongoing investigation.
Segovia has been placed on leave, and the association has assured its full support to the investigative authorities, emphasizing that no other individuals within the association were involved or had prior knowledge of the alleged acts.
The Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation into Segovia’s activities in late 2022 after her name and address were discovered during an inquiry into a suspected network that shipped controlled substances produced in India to customers across the United States. During this investigation, messages on a phone revealed Segovia’s apparent order for Soma, a popular muscle relaxer.
Digging deeper into the case, federal agents found that Segovia’s address was associated with five mail-order drug shipments that were opened and seized. Among the seized packages were approximately 4,000 pills of the sedative Zolpidem and over three pounds of the painkiller Tramadol. Records indicated that Segovia had been receiving packages from various countries, including Canada, China, Spain, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore, often labeled as supplements or health products.
Agents also discovered Segovia’s address listed as the contact on a website offering cheap prices and overnight shipping for prescription medications and pills. Court records revealed that the same website was linked to a fatal overdose in Alabama in 2022, although Segovia has not been charged in connection with that particular case.
When approached by Homeland Security agents in early February, Segovia initially claimed to work for the San Jose Police Department and insisted that her online purchases were limited to “supplements” and “nothing out of the ordinary.”
However, just over a month later, she contacted investigators again, this time implicating a family friend and housekeeper as the responsible party for the suspicious packages.
Segovia informed the agents that she didn’t want to implicate the housekeeper but felt compelled to be “honest” with them. She alleged that the housekeeper had impersonated her on WhatsApp, citing the housekeeper’s knowledge of personal details as evidence.
However, when investigators searched Segovia’s WhatsApp account, they discovered years-long correspondence with an individual from India, exchanging “hundreds of messages” about drugs, including Soma.
In one message, Segovia even shared a photo of a PayPal receipt on her computer screen, inadvertently revealing her business card and a sheet with a list of police union codes.
Furthermore, charging documents revealed that Segovia divulged details about the police union business to her drug contacts. She mentioned being occupied with new officer hires or on business trips, demonstrating a willingness to prioritize drug-related matters over her professional responsibilities.
While prosecutors seem to have evidence suggesting Segovia’s involvement in a larger drug trafficking network, she currently faces charges as an individual. It remains unclear if other individuals further up the supply chain are being targeted. The court documents do not disclose the identities of the alleged suppliers in India.
However, India’s pharmaceutical industry has gained notoriety as a source of illicit drugs, including precursor chemicals used in the production of fentanyl by Mexican cartels in clandestine laboratories.
San Jose’s police department has been grappling with the issue of fentanyl even before Segovia’s arrest came to light.
Last year, a 24-year-old rookie police officer, and former San Jose State University star running back, tragically lost his life to a fentanyl overdose, underscoring the severity of the crisis.