California police union director charged with importing opioids disguised as wedding favors
(CNN) -- The executive director of a police union in California has been placed on leave and is facing federal charges after allegedly importing drugs from overseas and distributing them throughout the country.
Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, ordered thousands of synthetic opioids including valeryl fentanyl that were disguised as chocolates, wedding favors, and makeup, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday by the Office of the United States Attorney.
Segovia, who serves as the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers' Association (SJPOA), allegedly used her personal and office computers to order the opioids and made shipments using the union's UPS account, the complaint said.
Segovia has been the executive director of the union, which represents officers with the San Jose Police Department, for nearly 20 years, according to CNN affiliate KGO-TV.
At least 61 shipments containing drugs worth thousands of dollars coming from countries including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore were shipped to Segovia's home between October 2015 and January this year, according to the complaint.
"The manifests for these shipments declared their contents with labels like 'Wedding Party Favors,' 'Gift Makeup,' or 'Chocolate and Sweets,'" the United States Attorneys Office for Northern California said in a press release.
"But between July 2019 and January 2023, officials intercepted and opened five of these shipments and found that they contained thousands of pills of controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol," the press release said.
In February 2023, Segovia was interviewed by federal investigators but she continued to order drug shipments, including a package in March containing valeryl fentanyl seized by federal agents in Kentucky, according to the complaint.
Segovia has been charged with attempt to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl and faces up to a maximum sentence of 20 years, according to the complaint.
An attorney for Segovia did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Segovia has been placed on leave and cut off from all access to the police officers association, San Jose Police Officers Association spokesperson Tom Saggau told CNN in a statement. No other individuals with the association were involved or knew about the scheme, Saggau said.
"Last Friday we were informed by federal authorities that one of our civilian employees was under investigation for distribution of a controlled substance and the POA has been fully and completely cooperating with the federal authorities as they continue their investigation," Saggau said. "The Board of Directors is saddened and disappointed at hearing this news and we have pledged to provide our full support to the investigative authorities."
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