Daniel Barwell: Doncaster councillor wanted in US denied bail as court hears he could face 20 years in prison on drug charge

A Doncaster councillor facing extradition to the United States on allegations of drug distribution has been denied bail and could face 20 years in prison if found guilty in the United States, a court heard.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 5:49 pm

Labour councillor Daniel Barwell, who is wanted in Ohio, is accused of ‘conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute psychedelic mushroom analogue’.

Barwell appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video link and only spoke to confirm his date of birth and if he could hear the proceedings in session.

Malcolm Hawkes, on behalf of Barwell, indicated that his client denies the allegations and that they would be ‘fully contested’.

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Labour councillor Daniel Barwell, who is wanted in Ohio, is accused of ‘conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute psychedelic mushroom analogue’.

After submissions made by both Malcolm Hawkes for the defendant, and Tom Cockroft on behalf of the United States District Court of Southern Ohio, District Judge Nina Tempia denied Barwell bail.

Barwell was arrested following an Interpol Red Notice at the request of the United States authorities in Ohio on Wednesday, February 2.

Mr Cockroft on behalf of the United States District Court of Southern Ohio, said: “It’s alleged that Mr Barwell conspired to import Psilocybin – a psychedelic drug into the United States of America, selling over 3,000 kilograms of the substance, some of which was shipped to the southern district of Ohio.

“He was recruited to this criminal organisation in May 2016, as a shipper from the United Kingdom and the maximum sentence he can expect to receive is one of 20 years imprisonment.

“It is alleged that he acted in that role for five years before his arrest on this provisional warrant.

“The US government is concerned that he received tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrencies and therefore it may well be difficult to trace those monies.

“I should add that it’s alleged that the organisation to which he was party, is alleged to have conducted over 40,000 transactions and the main means by which the substance was supplied was that people would fly from the United States to London produce the substance in a hotel room in London, and then send them to this requested person for him to mail directly to the United States.”

Defending Barwell, Mr Hawkes said there was ‘very limited evidence at this stage’ and called for District Judge Tempia to grant bail.

“It is very important to distinguish on the very limited evidence we have at this stage, what the organisation is alleged to have done and what Mr Barwell is alleged to have done.

“It is the organisation that has allegedly carried out 40,000 transactions involving 3,000 kilograms of substance, not Mr Barwell, the actual amount attributed to him is not indicated. Nor is it suggested that he was the sole exporter of the substance to the United States.

“If it is an international organisation, Mr Barwell represents a small cog in that very much larger machine in the prosecution case.

“That said, the allegations are denied and this matter will be fully contested.”

Mr Hawkes added there was ‘no evidence’ he has cryptocurrency access to ‘substantial funds’.

The defending barrister also mentioned Barwell being elected to Doncaster Council and that he had close ties to the community with ‘no evidence’ he ever stepped foot in the United States.

The court also heard that Barwell, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Intake, was also undertaking an undergraduate degree in history and politics at the University of Sheffield.

An offer was made for Barwell to be put under electronic curfew and to report to Doncaster police station in Waterdale three times a week.

The surrender of his driving licence and passport were also offered.

But in her ruling to deny bail, District Judge Tempia said: “I’ve heard a very detailed bail application on your behalf but I am not going to grant bail.

“There are substantial grounds to believe if granted bail, you’d fail to attend this court for the extradition hearing.

“I say that because of what I’ve heard about your role in this organisation I’ve been told that you’ve been acting for this organisation for five years, what your role has been and that you have received a substantial amount of money.

“The fear is that this is cryptocurrency which will be difficult to trace and therefore you have the means to abscond.”