Nineteen people were being arraigned Thursday on conspiracy and other charges.
Police and prosecutors say the 19 ran two loose-knit drug-dealing groups, called "20 BLOCC" and "Flow Boyz."
Authorities say the groups sold crack in playgrounds and elsewhere in and around the Wagner Houses and Taino Towers in East Harlem.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says families had to dart past drug dealers to get around.
Police Organized Crime Control Bureau Chief Anthony Izzo says the dealers thought they were immune from law enforcement, but the arrests proved them wrong.
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