Today’s news:

Cops nab 62 in major drug ring bust

The police arrested 62 members of a major drug ring that operated out of Rochdale Village and the Baisley Houses last week and included suspects ranging in age from 16 to 62, the Queens district attorney said.

DA Richard Brown joined Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at the Police Department’s headquarters in Manhattan last Thursday morning to announce the results of a six-month investigation that led to the arrests along with the confiscation of drugs, guns and other contraband.

The defendants allegedly sold marijuana, powdered and crack cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, ecstasy and BZP hundreds of times to undercover officers and some of the sales took place within yards of public schools in southeast Queens, according to authorities.

“These arrests — and the seizure of drugs, guns and other contraband resulting from this investigation — should serve as a warning to both drug dealers and violent criminals alike that the law enforcement community ... will continue to aggressively track down those individuals who traffic in drugs and seek to put them in prison for a long period of time,” he said in a statement.

The defendants were charged with various counts, including criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon, Brown said.

The investigation began in August when the police’s narcotics division found that there were serious drug operations going on at the Rochdale and Baisley houses, according to Brown. Undercover officers were able to purchase the drugs on hundreds of separate occasions, the DA said.

Some of the sales allegedly took place in a Popeye’s restaurant parking lot at 122nd Street and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and a Walgreens pharmacy parking lot at 145-80 Farmers Blvd., according to Brown. More than 30 of those sales were transacted within 1,000 feet of PS 72 at 133-25 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., PS 123 at 145-01 119th Ave. and John Adams Annex-Jump Start Academy at 120-27 141st St., Brown said.

The police also executed 14 search warrants of apartments at Rochdale and Baisley and took possession of a large collection of contraband, the DA said.

In addition to 60 pounds of marijuana and more than 4 ounces of cocaine and other narcotics, officers collected $30,000 in cash and seven weapons, including a semi-automatic pistol, according to Brown.

The DA said the arrests and seizures were important to protecting the law-abiding residents at the co-op house and public housing complexes.

“The vast majority of the residents of these two housing complexes are decent, hardworking citizens who have been virtually held hostage by the gangster lifestyle of a relatively few individuals who are alleged to have operated with near impunity,” he said.

Kelly also agreed and said the NYPD will continue to crack down on any drug activity in the area.

“While dealers have frequently attempted to use public housing as a convenient marketplace, law enforcement will persist — as it did in this case — in jailing them, especially when they sell near schools,” he said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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