04/12/2013 07:30 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Four Arrested In Vancouver, Richmond Drug Busts

Police in Vancouver and Richmond seized "a significant" quantity of heroin and cocaine Thursday, during busts at three homes believed to be linked to the notorious United Nations gang.

Two Richmond men, aged 22 and 31, a Vancouver man, 25, and a 25-year-old Surrey man were arrested.

Vancouver police spokesman Const. Brian Montague said patrol officers working in the city's southeast were tipped off in early March about a "sophisticated group" selling heroin, cocaine and rock cocaine.

When VPD and RCMP officers went in Thursday, they found weapons, cash, and drugs.

"During the searches, police seized a handgun, two replica handguns, body armour, approximately $50,000 cash and a significant amount of cocaine and heroin," Montague said in a written statement, but did not specify the exact quantity.

Five cars believed to have been used for moving drugs around were also seized, he said.

The four men arrested are all known to police, and could be facing drug and weapons-related charges.

Vancouver police Insp. Mike Serr, who works with the organized crime section, said the arrests have already disrupted the street drug trade in southeast Vancouver.

“The officers took quick action to disrupt this drug group, a group that preyed on the marginalized in our community," Serr said.

Police said the alleged drug dealers are believed to be connected to the United Nations gang, a group that began in the Fraser Valley in 1997. The "United Nations" name arose because early on the gang claimed to welcome members of any nationality.

According to police, the UN gang has made money from smuggling drugs across the U.S. border, and has had links to the triads — criminal organizations in Asia.

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