A Briton dubbed the "Marco Polo of drug trafficking" was arrested on a federal indictment charging 22 people with running a worldwide hashish and marijuana smuggling ring based in Asia, authorities said.

The indictment accuses all 22 defendants of racketeering, including ringleader Dennis Howard Marks, interim U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen told a news conference Monday.Marks, 42, was arrested Monday in Madrid, Spain, with his wife, Judith, and fellow Briton Geoffrey Kenion.

Marks was previously acquitted of drug charges in England after falsely claiming he worked for MI5, the British counterintelligence agency, Lehtinen said.

For 17 years Marks' ring shipped marijuana from Thailand and hashish from Pakistan, officials said. It operated in England, West Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States and other countries.

The ring had its own ship and amassed $30 million in property that the U.S. government now wants confiscated, Lehtinen said.