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Police Bust 7 Suspected Drug Dealers Operating Out Of Senior Citizen Retirement Center On Long Island

ROOSEVELT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Senior living for retirees is supposed to be about renting apartments, socializing with one another, and sharing many good times together.

But lately there have been bad times at an elderly housing complex on Long Island. Some drug dealers tried to move in, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.

Anxious Roosevelt retirees have been one edge at Rosa Parks Senior Center have been on edge.

"It makes me nervous, but I stay upstairs. I'm 87 years old," resident Ann Belle Richards said.

Richards rarely ventures out. Carl Hanks, 84, walks with a cane and has a dog named Clyde.

"It makes me feel sad and I'm upset," Hanks said.

Their vulnerable retirement complex has been in the crosshairs of criminal drug activity. They suspect buyers are coming from Centennial Park across the street.

Richards, Hanks and other elderly who live in the facility say many times they feel isolated with physical, mental and financial struggles, and are too intimidated by drug dealers to speak up and ask for help.

Anonymous calls came in to Nassau County police and Hempstead town leaders.

"My residents have complained so much about the fact there are people coming into their complex where they live selling drugs," Hempstead Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said.

Following a two-month investigation and armed with a search warrant, Nassau police say they cracked the case, arresting seven accused dealers, most in their 40s and 50's who have prior arrests. They are accused of selling out of the apartment of a 62-year-old man.

"They actually walked past uniformed police officers in the parking lot, right in through the door and went and knocked on the apartment to get more drugs," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

Residents thanked police for the takedown.

"Seniors live here. We need to do everything we can to make sure that they are safe, and that they can feel confident going about their day," County Executive Laura Curran said.

"We're senior citizens and we deserve the best," Hanks said.

Richards said drug dealers dare not come back.

"I've got a baseball bat, so if they come up to 15, I've got 'em, okay? I'm going to beat them down!" Richards said.

Police are already on their next mission -- to clean up the parks across the street.

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