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California police union leader charged in opioid importation case

A police union leader in San Jose, Calif., has been charged with attempting to import a synthetic opioid into the United States, which prosecutors say was discovered during an investigation into shipments of drugs in California and beyond.

Joanne Marian Segovia, executive director of the San Jose Police Officers Association, is charged with attempting to illegally import controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said Wednesday.

That charge relates to a package intercepted March 13 from China containing valeryl fentanyl, which is an analog — or chemically similar — to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, prosecutors said.

The opioid and oxycodone hydrochloride were found on stickers or patches inside the package intercepted from China, according to an affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations special agent filed with the criminal complaint. The package was labeled “clock” and also contained a disassembled clock kit.

Segovia was identified after the Department of Homeland Security investigated a ring sending Indian-made controlled substances to the San Francisco Bay Area, and after two references to her were found in a man’s phone. “network agent”, according to officials.

The affidavit cites other shipments, including thousands of pills that are controlled substances, from October 2015 to January 2023, including Zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia, and Tapentadol, an opioid.

Segovia tried to blame the shipments on a housekeeper and a family friend, according to the affidavit.

Investigators allegedly found messages believed to be from someone in India regarding drugs, with mentions of police duties, such as being busy because new officers had started that day, the affidavit states.

Segovia has been charged with a criminal complaint that was filed on Monday and unsealed on Tuesday, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Federal Court online records did not list a lawyer for Segovia as of Wednesday night. A first court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

The San Jose Police Officers Association did not respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.


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