A Congolese woman has been arrested after attempting to smuggle nearly $250,000 in possibly counterfeit cash hidden in dictionaries through a Nigerian airport, authorities said on Thursday.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), which ordinarily targets drug traffickers, seized the currency and the 39-year-old woman as she tried to board a flight from Lagos to Congo-Kinshasa.
Officers at Lagos International Airport pulled over the woman, who comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, after her plastic bag containing five dictionaries raised suspicions.
A search of the five reference books uncovered 24 brown envelopes, each containing $10,000 in $100 bills, the NDLEA said in an emailed statement. It added that the currency was suspected to be fake.
The woman, a divorced mother-of-two, told officers that the currency was given to her by a boyfriend.
The woman was to be handed over to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation and prosecution.
Nigeria's currency rules restrict the export of foreign currencies over $5,000. Any amount over that has to be declared upon departure.
Non-residents can export currency up to the amount imported and declared upon arrival.
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