SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Bombshell drug smuggling allegations against a San Jose Police Officers Association employee will see new development on Friday.
The union's Executive Director Joanne Segovia is charged with attempting to import illegal, synthetic opioid drugs from overseas - specifically in the form of fentanyl. She's accused of these actions between October 2015 and January of this year.
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"If these allegations are true, these are very, very serious and actually shocking," Former San Jose Independent Police Auditor and retired Supreme Court Judge, LaDoris Cordell told ABC7 News.
The city's police department has been under a public scrutiny over the last few years, after a string of officer misconduct allegations. This Includes claims an officer masturbated inside a family's home while he responded to a mental health call, an officer showed up drunk to the baby Brandon kidnapping investigation, allegations of an off-duty officer being arrested on suspicion of DUI, now this.
"This is an instance that does not help build trust," Cordell said. "People, I'm sure are wondering how it is someone could get away with this for so long, right under the noses of the police."
In a statement, San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata told ABC7 News:
"I have become aware of the investigation and charges by an outside agency of a civilian employee of the San Jose Police Officers Association. This news is disheartening and comes as a shock to me and the leaders and membership of the SJPOA. I want our stakeholders to know that the civilian employee was never employed in any capacity by the San Jose Police Department."
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"She's a civilian," Cordell said. "But she was somebody working directly - maybe she felt she was even safer doing this because she maybe would not be scrutinized by them."
Cordell continued, "So I hope as a result of this, if they want to build trust and community, they've got to set out protocols and procedures for those who work within the union. So that this never happens again."
SJPOA President Sean Pritchard said he first got a call from federal authorities last Friday, about Segovia, a 20-year employee of the union.
"Talk about a woman who has helped fallen officers' families, helped organize fundraisers when officers' children are sick," Pritchard recalled. "That's the person we know."
Segovia is expected in court at 1 p.m. and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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