Feds Indict ‘Marco Polo’ of Drug Smuggling, 21 Others in Asian Marijuana Case
MIAMI (AP) _ 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.
Marks, an Oxford University graduate and a London resident, operated all over the world, authorities said.
″He was the Marco Polo of drug trafficking,″ said Thomas Cash, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami office.
The ring led by Marks for 17 years shipped marijuana from Thailand and hashish from Pakistan, authorities said. It operated in England, West Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States and other countries.
″They shipped in ton quantities, thousands of tons,″ said Lehtinen.
The ring had its own ship and amassed $30 million in property that the U.S. government now wants confiscated, he said.
The traffickers laundered money through banks and corporations around the world, officials said.
Lehtinen said he expected Spain to quickly extradite the Markses, Kenion and William Roger Reaves, who was arrested several weeks ago in that country.
More arrests were expected, including some in the United States, Lehtinen said.
Several of the people indicted were Marks’ relatives. Patrick Alexander Lane, a British citizen arrested Monday in Miami, Marks’ brother-in-law, authorities said.
″Marks made a family enterprise out of it, using his wife, his brother-in- law and sister-in-law,″ said Cash.
Marks was the subject of ″The Life and High Times of Dennis Marks,″ a British book in which he detailed his drug career in the late 1970s and early 1980s.