The San Jose Police Officers Association has lost a 20-year employee to a narcotics distribution plot using the powerful opioid fentanyl. “I was just absolutely taken aback, shocked, became saddened,” Sean Pritchard, President of the San Jose Police Officers Association said, “And as the days have gone by, I’m at a place where I’m now I’m angry.”
The president of the San Jose police officers’ union, Sean Pritchard, claims he first heard the news last Friday when he received a call from federal authorities informing him that the union’s executive director, Joanne Segovia, had been charged with attempting to import illegal synthetic opioid drugs from overseas in this case, valeryl fentanyl.
U.S. federal authorities claim that this was all part of a plot to sell the drugs across the country. According to Pritchard, Segovia had worked for the union for close to two decades.
“This person has been really known as the grandma of the POA, and it’s not the woman that we have known for well over a decade and so that’s why it’s been so difficult,” Pritchard said.
“A woman who has helped fallen officers’ families, helped organize fundraisers when officers’ children are sick. That’s the person we know.”
Segovia, 65, allegedly used her home and work computers to place the drug orders and conspired to distribute them across the United States. The SJPOA claims they were unaware of the situation and are now looking into it internally.
According to the union, Segovia oversaw the front desk but did not participate in decision-making. What she planned to do with the narcotics is still a mystery. The criminal complaint states that the investigation of a network that allegedly distributes controlled narcotics developed in India led Homeland Security investigators to Segovia.
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Communications between Segovia and her San Jose address were discovered after a scan of the phone of a network operative. Between October 2015 and January 2023, Segovia allegedly received over 61 packages from a wide variety of international places, including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore, according to the investigation.
The shipments had labels that included “Wedding Party Favors,” “Gift Makeup,” and “Chocolate and Sweets,” federal officials said. Thousands of narcotic pills, according to federal authorities, were discovered in those shipments.
The complaint states that after Segovia was interrogated by federal agents in February, she nevertheless placed orders for illegal narcotics. A package containing valeryl fentanyl, a fentanyl analog, was intercepted by federal officials on March 13 and returned to its sender in Kentucky.
The shipment was shipped on March 10 from China with a timepiece listed as its contents. Cindy Chavez, a county supervisor in Santa Clara, California, is in charge of the county’s fentanyl working group.
“What’s really concerning me is that it’s just a reminder of how accessible this is,” she said, of the news, “And that we, from a law enforcement and a community perspective, need to be much more aggressive and much more assertive about how we deal with interrupting that chain that that we just have been unable to break.”
ABC7 has tried to contact Segovia but has not yet received a response. According to the lawsuit, she initially denied any criminal activity and then attempted to blame her housekeeper during conversations with investigators. On Friday at 1 pm, the court will hear Segovia’s case. She might get up to 20 years in prison if she is found guilty.
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