Today’s news:

Far Rockaway drug bust nets 32

The 32 defendants allegedly sold crack and powdered cocaine and marijuana 18 times to undercover officers in six months in an area around the Hammel Houses, Brown said."These arrests underscore our commitment to continue to work to improve the quality of life for all residents of the Hammel Houses," the DA said in a statement. "The result of this joint investigation should be a welcome relief to the many residents of the Hammel Houses, who have been plagued with illegal drug trafficking near their homes and schools."Brown said those charged "are part of a loosely knit group of independent drug dealers" who operated an "open-air drug market" at the Hamel Houses.The sting began in July 2007 after detectives with the NYPD's Queens Narcotics Division got a tip about drug dealing and drug-related violence around the Far Rockaway housing project, Brown said.The division and the Queens DA's office then assigned undercover cops to buy narcotics and marijuana from the drug dealers operating out of the Hammel Houses on 18 separate occasions, Brown said. Some of the drug deals were conducted near St. Rose of Lima School at 130 Beach 84th St., a Catholic school with 339 students, the DA said. Another sale was done near the Hammel Child Care Center at 82-10 Rockaway Beach Blvd.Among the 32 charged were three suspected members of the gang known as GIB, or Get It In Bricks, Brown said.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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