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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced today that Chunmei Zhang, 55, of China, was found guilty of illegal entry into the United States following a trial before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller.

According to evidence introduced at trial, on July 25, 2023, Zhang and her husband, Sheng Chen, 55, arrived at the Cyril E. King airport in St. Thomas and attempted to board a Delta flight to New York. Both were referred to Customs and Border Protection for inspection as neither had a United States passport or any other travel documents in their possession. When interviewed, Zhang and Chen stated that they arrived in St. Thomas on July 24, 2023, by boat from Suriname and admitted paying approximately $25,000.00 to their traffickers to transport them to St. Thomas. Both Zhang and Chen are Chinese nationals, and no record exists that either applied for, sought, or received prior permission to enter or reside in the United States. On their convictions, Zhang and Chen were sentenced by Magistrate Judge Miller to time served.

These cases were investigated by Customs and Border Protection and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne.

Updated November 14, 2023