Grandma Busted for Running Drug Ring While Hiding Her Secret World from Family and Police Union Coworkers
Family and friends “shocked” that Joanne Marian Segovia, 64 allegedly trafficked drugs under their noses.
A California police union executive director has been charged with running a drug ring from her San Jose home and work office where she allegedly accepted at least 61 illegal drug shipments from various countries, including Singapore, Hungary, Hong Kong, and India, then distributed to other states. Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, reportedly deceived her family for years and had an eerily similar secret life to that of Breaking Bad's Walter White, which entailed keeping close ones in the dark about her illegal side hustle. The grandmother of two allegedly started distributing drugs around October 2015 and was busted earlier this year, and is facing up to twenty years in jail if convicted.
Segovia Pinned the Crime on her Housekeeper
Segovia maintains her innocence and claims she knows who is actually responsible for trafficking the same drugs her union was trying to keep off the streets. The New York Post reports, "Segovia denied the allegations and told authorities the mastermind was actually her housekeeper — a "family friend" allegedly suffering from a substance abuse disorder, according to a Homeland Security Investigations report."
Segovia's Phone Number is Linked to Man Who Died of an Overdose
According to a criminal complaint that was filed last week and unsealed, Segovia's number was connected to a man who died of a drug overdose. Complaint No. 44 states, "The telephone number listed on this website appears in a 2022 police report from Alabama involving a victim who died from a drug overdose. His spouse told police that the victim regularly ordered pills from the user of telephone number that SEGOVIA also communicated with. The spouse said that the user of this telephone number mailed her husband pill shipments."
Segovia Worked Alone, Police Union Claims
Investigators continue to look into the case of Segovia, but police union president Sean Pritchard told NBC Bay Area there are no other suspects. There is, "No indication, zero, that anyone else is involved," he said. "No sworn officers. No civilian employees." He added, "This is an individual from everything that we've learned that has been acting on her own."
Segovia Allegedly Used Encrypted WhatsApp Communications to Plan for Drug Shipments
The criminal complaint also revealed the drug shipments Segovia allegedly received at her home were labeled "Wedding Party Favors," "Gift Makeup," and "Chocolate and Sweets," federal officials said, according to NBC Bay Area. The outlet also reports, "The complaint describes a period between January 2020 and March 2023 during which Segovia is alleged to have exchanged hundreds of messages with someone using a phone with an India country code. The messages reportedly discussed details for shipping and payment of pills and contained hundreds of pictures of tablets, shipping labels, packaging, payment receipts, and payment confirmations."
Segovia Didn't Need the Money
Her family is trying to understand why Segovia would enter a life of crime and said they didn't need the money. The Post reports that a relative, Irma Segovia Sweat, stated the couple was fine financially and didn't need the money but did reveal Segovia dealt with an unspecified health scare about three years ago. "They didn't need any money," she said. "They both had made really good money and didn't need anything."
Segovia's Husband Didn't Know Anything
According to the couple's niece, Segovia's husband, Domingo, 79, had no knowledge of his wife's criminal activities. Speaking to the Post, under the condition that she remain anonymous, firmly stated her uncle didn't know anything. "My uncle would never allow that, nor participate in anything like that. He's a very successful man — knowledgeable and smart. I can guarantee 1,000,000% he had no clue about that." Sweat also added, "He is just a really good man and if he found out something like that, I don't think he would ever put up with it," Sweat told The Post. "I am as shocked as everyone else — and actually, none of us believe it."
The Family is in Shock
Segovia's family is still processing the shocking news and are trying to make sense of it all. "She is the sweetest lady ever, very loving, very giving, very family-oriented," according to Segovia's niece. "She's a very awesome lady. That's why we are, like, all surprised and can't believe it." A different relative, who didn't want to be named, told the Post, "We are still trying to wrap our heads around everything because that is so not her. Our family is very shocked and surprised. No one knew anything! She added, "I was in a state of shock. I had just woken up in the morning and I had messages from family members. Nobody wants to believe it, but we just got to let the justice system run its course. And our family's going to need a lot of healing because their name is being dragged across the country over this whole ordeal."
"This is Not the Person We've Known"
The news shocked not only the community but her family and coworkers. "She's been the grandma of the POA," Pritchard told NBC Bay Area. Segovia has worked for the union for nearly 20 years, and nobody expected this. "This is not the person we've known, the person who has worked with fallen officers' families, organized fundraisers for officers' kids – just not who we've known over a decade."
Segovia Allegedly Used Her Work Computer for Illegal Drug Deals
Special Agent David Vargas said in the affidavit that Segovia used her place of employment to traffic drugs. "Based on my training and experience, I believe that Segovia was using a computer at her home, and another at her office, to pay for shipments of controlled substances," Vargas wrote. The complaint details how, in 2021, "Segovia was told by a supplier to send a package to a woman in North Carolina. Segovia then sent this supplier a photograph of a shipment made using the UPS account of San Jose Police Officers' Association."
Police Feel Betrayed
Segovia was never a police officer but has worked for San Jose Police Officers' Association since 2003 as a civilian employee. "As executive director, she oversaw the front office and supervised two other workers," spokesman Tom Saggau told the Post. "When the news broke, it was utter disbelief. That's now turned to anger due to the alleged deception and what the accusations detail. Every cop goes to work trying to get fentanyl and other drugs off the street, so you do feel a little betrayal." Pritchard told NBC Bay Area, "We have the hardest working, most dedicated, committed officers there is. This is no reflection of who they are as individuals, what they do for our community, nor what they stand for as a profession."