A young couple described by friends as the “cutest little family ever” are part of a group of six people accused of the large-scale distribution of drugs across regional New South Wales.
Police arrested six people in Bathurst last week over an alleged drug syndicate, with officers raiding a number of businesses and homes in Bathurst as part of an ongoing investigating into drug supply in the area.
They arrested four men, aged between 22 and 61, and a 20-year-old woman, charging them with various drug supply offences.
One was also charged with resisting arrest and assaulting police. A sixth person was released.
Two of the accused are Aidan John Hartnett, 22, and his fiance Erin Clayton, 20, who are shown living the ideal country life raising their young daughter in the regional town.
Their Facebook profiles feature countless pictures of the pair smiling together, with recent photographs showing them celebrating an engagement party in February.
Friends comment about them being a “beautiful couple”, with Hartnett described as being a labourer for a timber outlet and Clayton working for a jewellery and bag chain store.
Their lawyer Ahmed Dib told the Daily Telegraph: “It’s a matter of us waiting to see the material and evidence the police have against our clients before any application is made in court.”
Detective Superintendent Paul McDonald said the alleged drug ring had been operating in the area for a number of years.
More than half a kilogram of ‘ice’, worth $1.7 million, had so far been seized since the investigation began in August 2017.
That would have provided about 70,000 individual hits, Det Supt McDonald told reporters in Bathurst last Friday.
“Taking these people out, you will notice a difference on the street,” he said.
Police are still looking for another four to six people who they believe are part of the syndicate, with further arrests “imminent”.
“We haven’t finished,” Det Supt McDonald said.
The four men charged were refused bail to reappear at Bathurst Local Court again in May.
The woman was granted conditional bail and will face the same court on April 9.