The director of the San Jose police union who was charged with attempting to import synthetic opioids has been fired from the organization.
On Friday, the San Jose Police Officers’ Association fired Joanne Segovia after it completed the first phase of the internal investigation that it launched into the charges filed against her.
“The abhorrent criminal conduct alleged against Ms Segovia must be the impetus to ensuring our internal controls at the [union] are strong and that we enact any changes that could have identified the alleged conduct sooner,” the organization’s president, Sean Pritchard, said in a statement shared with USA Today.
As part of the union’s second phase of its investigation, an independent investigator plans to look into the extent to which Segovia used association resources and also determine whether “current internal controls could have identified the alleged behavior”.
“The independent outside investigator will conduct a no-holds-barred examination of our operations and will get the full cooperation from the [association],” Pritchard said.
Last week, the US justice department announced the charges against the 64-year-old Segovia, who was apprehended as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into a network that was illegally shipping federally controlled substances into the San Francisco Bay Area from abroad.
According to court records reviewed by USA Today, Segovia landed on federal agents’ radar late last year after they seized the phone of a suspected trafficker and found encrypted messages from September 2022 that mentioned “J Segovia”. The messages also included a San Jose home address.
The criminal complaint filed against Segovia alleges that she “used her personal and office computers to order thousands of opioid and other pills to her home and agreed to distribute the drugs elsewhere in the United States”.
The drugs were allegedly labeled as “Wedding Party Favors”, “Gift Makeup” or “Chocolate and Sweets”, according to prosecutors.
Segovia has also been accused of using encrypted WhatsApp communications to plan the logistics of receiving and sending pill shipments, at one point even allegedly exchanging hundreds of messages with someone using a phone with the country code for India.
At one point, Segovia messaged the person and wrote, “Im so sorry, im on a business trip because we had 2 officers that got shot! I should be home tomorrow night so ill get them shipped as soon as i can.”
Despite being interviewed by federal investigators earlier this year, Segovia continued to order the drugs, the justice department alleged. On 13 March, federal agents seized a parcel in Kentucky that contained valeryl fentanyl addressed to Segovia. The package allegedly originated from China three days earlier and declared its contents as a “clock”, according to the justice department.
If convicted as charged, Segovia could face up to 20 years in prison.
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