West News Wire: Federal prosecutors have filed charges against the head of a police union in the San Francisco Bay Area for reportedly smuggling thousands of synthetic opioids into the country from different nations with the intention of selling them.
According to a complaint this week submitted in federal court, 64-year-old Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the San Jose Police Officers Association, has been charged with attempting to illegally import a controlled drug, specifically the fentanyl analog valeryl.
According to the complaint, between 2015 and 2023, Segovia received 61 shipments from nations including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore that were marked as “Wedding Party Favors,” “Shirts Tops,” “Gift Makeup,” “Chocolate and Sweets,” “Food Supplement,” “Health Product,” and “Supplement.” They were actually illegal substances, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California allege.
Between July 2019 and January 2023, as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into controlled substances being shipped into the San Francisco Bay Area from India, authorities intercepted and opened five such shipments and found that they contained thousands of pills, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol, prosecutors said.
In a voluntary interview with Homeland Security agents in February, Segovia reportedly claimed to have only ordered “supplements” and “nothing out of the ordinary,” according to the complaint. She reportedly denied ordering or receiving prescription medications through the mail and said that she would never do so, adding, “I wouldn’t even know where to start,” according to the complaint.
In a second interview earlier this month, Segovia allegedly told investigators “that she had nothing to do with the orders sent to her” and blamed them on a woman she identified as a “family friend and housekeeper,” according to the complaint.
Segovia continued to order controlled substances even after the February interview with Homeland Security, prosecutors allege. On March 13, federal agents in Kentucky seized a parcel purportedly containing a clock that originated from China that was addressed to Segovia and allegedly contained valeryl fentanyl, the complaint said.
Amid the investigation, agents also found emails and WhatsApp chat messages on Segovia’s phone allegedly talking about shipments of drugs.
Segovia is scheduled to make her first court appearance Friday afternoon.