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April 27, 2023New York, NY, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO New York City removes noncitizen aggravated felon to the Marshall Islands

NEW YORK - Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New York City removed Gina Zhou, 35, to the Marshall Islands April 18.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) convicted Zhou of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and sentenced her to time served. Officials flew her from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens to Amata Kabua International Airport in Majuro Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Upon arrival, Zhou was turned over to the Marshallese authorities.

Zhou participated in a multi-year scheme that included establishing a nongovernmental organization and allegedly bribing officials in the Republic of the Marshall Islands with the intention of establishing a semi-autonomous region, akin to Hong Kong, in the U.S.-defended Marshall Islands.

“Gina Zhou utilized her New York City-based NGO to enrich herself financially while conspiring to undermine the democratic process of the Marshall Islands,” said ERO New York City Field Office Director Kenneth Genalo. “We remain committed to returning noncitizens convicted of committing aggravated felonies to their country of origin.”

On Feb. 16, the Justice Department’s SDNY issued an order of judicial removal that ordered Zhou’s removal from the United States to the Marshall Islands, pursuant to Section 238(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Title 8, U.S. Code, Section 1228(c).

On or about Sept. 2, 2022, Zhou arrived in the United States at or near John F. Kennedy International Airport. Zhou was the beneficiary of a significant public benefit parole, and she was extradited to the United States for the purpose of criminal prosecution. U.S. Customs and Border Protection paroled her into the United States, and she was turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

In fiscal year 2022, ERO arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories; this group had 198,498 associated charges and convictions. These included 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.

As one of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.

Members of the public can report crimes and suspicious activity by dialing 866-347-2423 or completing ICE’s online tip form.

Learn more about ERO New York City’s mission to preserve public safety on Twitter @ERONewYork.

Updated: 04/27/2023