Man Arrested at Lagos Airport with Counterfeit $10,000

Nigeria Customs Thwarts Counterfeit Currency Smuggling at Lagos Airport

A 41-year-old man, Ifeanacho Marcellinus Ugbor, was apprehended by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. The arrest occurred as Ugbor attempted to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight (ET900) to Brazil on November 10, 2023. The suspect, who possessed a valid Nigerian passport (No. B00033052), was found to have counterfeited $10,000.

The arrest unfolded as Nigeria Customs officers, conducting routine security checks, identified a passenger attempting to board a flight to Brazil with a substantial amount of suspected counterfeit currency. The $10,000 in question bore all the hallmarks of meticulous counterfeiting, raising red flags for the vigilant customs officials. The immediate action taken by these officers not only prevented the potential circulation of fraudulent currency but also initiated a broader investigation into the origins and motives behind this illicit activity.

The attempted smuggling of counterfeit currency is a clear violation of money laundering laws, posing a threat to the stability and integrity of the financial system. Money laundering is a global concern, and nations worldwide enact stringent laws and regulations to combat such illicit financial activities. In this case, Nigeria Customs’ swift response demonstrates the commitment of the country to safeguarding its financial infrastructure and preventing the infiltration of fraudulent funds into the economy.

The successful interception of the suspect and the seized counterfeit currency can be attributed to the diligence and professionalism of Nigeria Customs officers. Their commitment to thorough security checks and their ability to identify potential threats play a pivotal role in preventing criminal activities at border entry points. The incident at Lagos Airport not only showcases the competence of these officers but also serves as a reminder of the crucial role they play in maintaining national security.

Following the arrest, Nigeria Customs promptly handed over the seized counterfeit currency and the suspect’s belongings to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation. This collaborative approach between different law enforcement agencies is essential for a comprehensive and effective crackdown on financial crimes. The EFCC, equipped with specialized investigative tools and expertise, will delve deeper into the case to uncover the intricate web of individuals and organizations involved in the counterfeiting operation.

Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Charles Orbihi, stated that the suspect’s actions violated Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended), Act No. 11, 2011, and Act No. 1, 2012. The Controller emphasized that the passenger’s declaration of $10,000 on the Currency Declaration Form raised suspicion, leading Customs officers to examine the currency under Section 66 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. Subsequently, it was discovered that the entire sum of $10,000 was counterfeit.

The suspect was prevented from travelling and detained for further investigation. The seized counterfeit currency and the suspect’s Nigerian passport, two phones, and his baggage were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for necessary action. Controller Orbihi commended the diligence of Customs officers in combating customs-related crimes and exposing perpetrators.

The arrest of an individual attempting to smuggle counterfeit $10,000 at Lagos Airport is a stark reminder of the ever-present threats to the financial integrity of nations. Nigeria Customs’ decisive action and collaboration with the EFCC demonstrate the government’s commitment to combating money laundering and financial crimes. As the investigation unfolds, it is hoped that this case will serve as a deterrent to potential offenders and reinforce the importance of international collaboration in addressing the global challenge of illicit financial activities. The vigilance of customs officers remains a critical line of defense in protecting the nation’s economic well-being and maintaining the trust and stability of the financial system.

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