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California Police Union Director Charged with Importing Fentanyl Into America

California Police Union Director Charged with Importing Fentanyl Into America

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Joanne Marian Segovia/LinkedIn

Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, the executive director of a police union in California, is facing federal charges after allegedly importing drugs from overseas and distributing them nationwide.

Segovia has been charged with an attempt to unlawfully import valeryl fentanyl, a new synthetic opioid, and faces up to a maximum sentence of 20 years, according to the complaint.

Authorities say the union exec peddled thousands of synthetic opioids, including valeryl fentanyl, that were disguised as chocolates, wedding favors, and makeup. The criminal complaint against Segovia was filed March 27 by the Office of the United States Attorney.

Segovia is the executive director of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association (SJPOA) and authorities alleged she used her personal and office computers to order the opioids and made shipments using the union’s UPS account.

Segovia has been in her position for nearly 20 years, according to CNN affiliate KGO-TV.

Segovia shipped at least 61 shipments containing drugs coming from countries including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore to her 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 a press release.

Officials intercepted and opened five of these shipments and discovered they contained thousands of pills of controlled substances, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol,, according to the press release.

In February 2023, Segovia was interviewed by federal investigators. Still, 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 placed on leave and cut off from all access to the police officers association.

The average sentence for fentanyl trafficking offenders is 58 months, 95.9 percent of offenders were sentenced to prison in 2021.

Fentanyl deaths are on the rise. Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise, with 70,601 overdose deaths reported in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Police unions are powerful players not only for their members but in the political realm.

Police unions have become one of the most powerful lobbyists in local government and the most vocal voices against criminal justice reform.

Police unions are “profoundly conservative institutions that uphold a particular white ethnic, law-and-order-focused variant of right-wing politics,” Dylan Matthews wrote for Vox. “The presence of a segment of a union movement that’s unapologetically right-wing and hostile to Black communities has tested the limits of solidarity from more left-wing unionists.”

Both Republicans and Democrats benefit from political donations from police unions.

Joanne Marian Segovia/LinkedIn