California police union executive director ran fentanyl operation from home

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A San Jose grandmother has allegedly been importing fentanyl from India and other countries into the U.S. and has been using her home as a base for the global drug operation.

Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, is the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, and was charged with attempting to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, federal prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

Starting in 2015, Segovia had at least 61 drug shipments mailed to her San Jose home from India, Hong Kong, Hungary and Singapore with manifests that listed their contents as ‘wedding party favors,’ ‘gift makeup,’ ‘chocolate and sweets’ and ‘food supplement,’ according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

In at least once instance she is accused of using her work computer and address and the police union’s UPS account to ship the drugs within the U.S.

Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the San Jose Police Officers' Association, was charged with attempting to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl from her home

Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, was charged with attempting to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl from her home

Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the police union in San Jose, said Segovia has worked for the union since 2003, planning funerals for officers who die in the line of duty, being the liaison between the department and the officers’ families and organizing office festivities and fundraisers.

He said that federal officials informed the union last Friday that Segovia was under investigation and that no one else at the union was involved or knew about Segovia’s alleged acts.

The revelation shocked her colleagues, Saggau said.

‘We didn’t have any reason to suspect her,’ he said, adding that the union’s board of directors has pledged to fully support the federal investigation.

Federal prosecutors said that in 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted a parcel being sent to her home address that contained $5,000 worth of Tramadol, a synthetic opioid, and sent her a letter telling her they were seizing the pills. 

The next year, the CBP again intercepted a shipment of Tramadol valued at $700 and sent her a seizure letter, court records showed.

But federal officials didn’t start investigating Segovia until last year when investigators found her name and home address on the cellphone of a suspected drug dealer who is part of a network that ships controlled substances made in India to the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the complaint. 

Segovia (pictured right with an officer) has worked for the union since 2003, planning funerals for officers who die in the line of duty, being the liaison between the department and the officers' families and organizing office festivities and fundraisers

Segovia (pictured right with an officer) has worked for the union since 2003, planning funerals for officers who die in the line of duty, being the liaison between the department and the officers’ families and organizing office festivities and fundraisers

Segovia was seen in a care-free photoshoot with a friend wearing matching outfits a stark contrast from her alleged shady drug business

Segovia was seen in a care-free photoshoot with a friend wearing matching outfits a stark contrast from her alleged shady drug business

She appears in multiple pictures with her grandchildren, Jennifer's kids

She appears in multiple pictures with her grandchildren, Jennifer’s kids 

Segovia is seen pictured with her husband Dom, it remains unclear if he was aware of the operation. Multiple loving photos of the pair appear on social media

Segovia is seen pictured with her husband Dom, it remains unclear if he was aware of the operation. Multiple loving photos of the pair appear on social media 

That drug trafficking network has distributed hundreds of thousands of pills in 48 states, federal prosecutors said.

Segovia used WhatsApp messaging service and her personal and office computers to order thousands of opioid tablets and other pills to her home and agreed to distribute the drugs elsewhere in the United States, prosecutors said.

On at least one occasion in 2021, Segovia shipped the illicit drugs to a North Carolina address by using the police union’s UPS account, prosecutors said. That address is linked to at least five illicit drug seizures, they said.

Investigators found hundreds of photographs in a WhatsApp chat on Segovia’s cellphone, including an image of the UPS shipping slip and another one of a computer screen showing a PayPal payment to an Indian name and Segovia’s police union business cards under it.

‘Based on my training and experience, I know that shippers of controlled substances often send receipts and tracking numbers as proof that they in fact sent a package,’ David Vargas, a special agent for Homeland Security Investigation, wrote in the affidavit. 

‘I believe that the receipt provided by Segovia was offered by her as proof that she sent a package to the North Carolina addressee.’ 

According to the complaint, Segovia continued to order controlled substances even after being interviewed by federal investigators in February. 

Starting in 2015, Segovia had at least 61 drug shipments mailed to her San Jose home from India, Hong Kong, Hungary and Singapore

Starting in 2015, Segovia had at least 61 drug shipments mailed to her San Jose home from India, Hong Kong, Hungary and Singapore

She allegedly imported illegal synthetic opioids from India and other countries and at least once used her work computer and address (pictured) and the union's UPS account to ship the drugs within the country

She allegedly imported illegal synthetic opioids from India and other countries and at least once used her work computer and address (pictured) and the union’s UPS account to ship the drugs within the country

On March 13, federal agents seized a parcel in Kentucky, containing valeryl fentanyl, addressed to Segovia. 

The package allegedly originated from China three days earlier and declared its contents as a ‘clock,’ prosecutors said.

The person people see on Segovia’s social media accounts is a doting mother of Jennifer and wife of Dom. 

She appears in multiple pictures with her grandchildren, Jennifer’s kids, as well as loving pictures with her husband. 

Fentanyl can be cut with virtually every street drug and killed a record 75,000 Americans in 2021 according to the latest numbers – which is the equivalent of 1,500 lives lost weekly. 

The opioid – which is 100 times more potent than morphine – started off as a cheap alternative to heroin and was only used by veteran drug addicts – who injected or smoked it.

But its cheap manufacturing costs have made it the go-to cutting agent for cartels and drug dealers in the US looking to stretch their supply. 

It’s now found in everything from cocaine to molly and street benzodiazepines like Xanax. 

Fentanyl has now infected almost every major city in America, turning once-thriving streets in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia into wastelands. 

Fentanyl has now infected almost every major city in America, turning once-thriving streets in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia into wastelands

 Fentanyl has now infected almost every major city in America, turning once-thriving streets in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia into wastelands

Nobody knows how much fentanyl in both gel and pill form is successfully crossing the Southern border, however and seizure rates remain low - methamphetamines and marijuana still the highest

Nobody knows how much fentanyl in both gel and pill form is successfully crossing the Southern border, however and seizure rates remain low – methamphetamines and marijuana still the highest

The fentanyl crisis took off in 2016, where annual deaths more than doubled to 19,413, up from 9,580 a year earlier. In 2017, deaths caused by the synthetic opioid reached 28,466

 The fentanyl crisis took off in 2016, where annual deaths more than doubled to 19,413, up from 9,580 a year earlier. In 2017, deaths caused by the synthetic opioid reached 28,466

Scenes of zombified addicts shooting up or smoking the drug in front of children increasingly becoming a part of everyday life.

Many people who die of overdoses do not know they are taking fentanyl and the drug has partially been blamed for America’s sharp decline in life-expectancy.

Experts have described the drop in life expectancy from 78.8 in 2019 to 76.4 in 2021 as ‘dramatic’ and ‘substantial’.

Officials in Washington state have said that they’ve run out of space in morgues and crematoriums as the drug tears through local communities.

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