SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A 20-year employee of the San Jose, California Police Officers' Association has been charged in a scheme to distribute drugs, including fentanyl.
"I was just absolutely taken aback, shocked, became saddened," said Sean Pritchard, president of the San Jose Police Officers' Association, "And as the days have gone by, I'm at a place where I'm now I'm angry."
Pritchard said he first got a call from federal authorities last Friday that Joanne Segovia, the union's executive director, was charged with attempting to import illegal synthetic opioid drugs from overseas, specifically valeryl fentanyl.
Federal prosecutors said it was part of a scheme to distribute them in the U.S.
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Pritchard said Segovia had been with the union for nearly 20 years.
"This person has been really known as the grandma of the POA, and it's not the woman that we have known for well over a decade and so that's why it's been so difficult," Pritchard said, "A woman who has helped fallen officer's families, helped organize fundraisers when officers' children are sick. That's the person we know."
Investigators said Segovia, 65, used her personal and office computers to order the drugs and agreed to distribute them elsewhere in the U.S.
The SJPOA said they had no knowledge of it and are conducting an internal investigation.
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The union said Segovia handled front desk operations but did not make decisions for the organization.
They still don't know what her exact intentions were with the drugs.
According to the criminal complaint, Homeland Security agents were led to Segovia through an investigation that looked into a network they say ships controlled substances made in India.
A network operative's phone was searched and they found messages that were found to be linked to Segovia and her San Jose address.
Investigators found that between October of 2015 and January 2023, Segovia allegedly had approximately 61 shipments mailed to her home coming from countries all over the world, from locations that included Hong Kong, Hungary, India, and Singapore.
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The shipments had labels that included "Wedding Party Favors," "Gift Makeup," and "Chocolate and Sweets," federal officials said.
Federal investigators intercepted those shipments and say they found thousands of narcotic pills.
According to the complaint, Segovia continued to order controlled substances even after being interviewed by federal investigators in February. On March 13, federal agents seized a parcel addressed to Segovia in Kentucky, containing valeryl fentanyl, a fentanyl analog. The package reportedly originated from China on March 10 and declared its contents as a clock.
Santa Clara County supervisor Cindy Chavez heads the county's fentanyl working group that works to combat the opioid crisis locally.
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"What's really concerning me is that it's just a reminder of how accessible this is," she said, of the news, "And that we, from a law enforcement and a community perspective, need to be much more aggressive and much more assertive about how we deal with interrupting that chain that that we just have been unable to break."
ABC San Francisco affiliate KGO reached out to Segovia and have not heard back.
The complaint states that she denied any illegal activity in initial interviews with investigators and then later tried to blame her housekeeper.
Segovia is due in court Friday at 1 p.m.
If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.