The executive director of the San Jose Officers’ Association was arrested on charges of attempting to illegally traffic fentanyl, leaving the law enforcement community stunned, per a federal criminal complaint.
Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, reportedly used her personal and office computers to order the drugs, including fentanyl, between October 2015 and January 2023, according to the United States Department of Justice.
Police Union Head Reportedly Ordered At Least 61 Drug Shipments From Places Like Hong Kong, India
At least 61 shipments were mailed to her home from places including India, Hungary and Hong Kong, the DOJ said.
The packages mailed to Segovia’s home were discretely labeled with innocuous items like “Shirts Tops,” “Chocolate and Sweets” and “Gift Makeup.” A package of fentanyl that was sent to her just two weeks ago was labeled as a “clock.”
Segovia has been with the association since 2003.
“This is an incredibly disturbing allegation. No one is above the law, regardless of who their employer is,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “I want to thank U.S. Attorney (Ismail J.) Ramsey and his colleagues for aggressively pursuing the sources of fentanyl coming into our communities and holding drug dealers accountable.”
Arrest Comes Amidst The Deadly And Ever-Growing Opioid Problem Plaguing The U.S.
The news comes amidst the ever-growing opioid problem plaguing the U.S., as the number of people who have lost loved ones to fentanyl and other opioids continues to grow.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 109,000 people died of a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending March 2022. Annual overdose deaths reached record levels during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, retired judge Ladoris Cordell – who is also a former independent police auditor for San Jose – states that he wishes to know if any of the alleged drug trafficking involved union funds.
“If they have anyone who is in charge of looking at the finances, checking the records and the books, it would seem that someone would have noticed that this was happening,” Cordell told NewsNation.
Police Union Executive Immediately Placed On Leave, Department Denies Knowledge Of Drugs
The Police Officers’ Association claims it “immediately placed” Segovia on leave, while roundly rejecting the idea that the agency had anything to do with the alleged acts.
“The POA (Police Officers’ Association) immediately placed the civilian employee on leave and, as is standard procedure, cut off all access to the POA. No additional individual at the POA is involved or had prior knowledge of the alleged acts. The Board of Directors is saddened and disappointed,” a statement from the association read in part.
Fentanyl kills pic.twitter.com/CpVKzYvZWC
— NikkiPreston (@NikkiPreston107) March 28, 2023
Experts say that law enforcement officers may be swayed by the sheer amount of money that the drugs bring in, leading to departmental corruption, the outlet reports.
“Corrupt police are the biggest nightmare for … legitimate law enforcement officers that you have out there,” said retired DEA Special Agent Peter Gudowitz. “Monitor the investigations and be on the lookout for corruption.”
Segovia Faces Up To 20-Years In Prison If Found Guilty, Scheduled For Court Appearance Friday
Segovia allegedly continued to sell the narcotics even after being questioned by federal investigators last month.
Segovia is scheduled for a court appearance on Friday, according to KTLA.
If convicted, Segovia faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years. In addition, as part of any sentence, the court may order the defendant to serve at least 3 years of supervised release and to pay a fine of up to $250,000.