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Boasting that they have dented the leadership of one of B.C.'s most violent gangs, police have charged five more highly placed members of the so-called United Nations criminal organization with conspiring to kill their equally notorious rivals.

The charges concern the targeting of Jonathan, James and Jarrod Bacon, ringleaders of the Red Scorpion gang. The two groups are waging a violent turf battle over control of the marijuana and cocaine trade in the B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

The five new charges bring to eight the number of highly positioned United Nations gang members who have been charged in recent weeks. At the time of the police news conference, Canada-wide warrants had been issued for the five but they had not been arrested.

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But police say the charges are significant because they are gradually hobbling the UN's top leadership.

"This is significant progress," RCMP Sergeant Bill Whalen said during the briefing at a secure and secret Mountie compound in the Fraser Valley. "These are the leading, most significant players within the United Nations gang. Will it lead to instability? Perhaps. Will that disorganization mean less crime? We hope."

However, RCMP Corporal Dale Carr said he could not promise the police actions will end the carnage in the short term.

"When the key leadership of any organization is taken away, there's a serious effect," said Cpl. Carr, a spokesman for the Mounties' Integrated Homicide Investigative Team. "We'd like to be able to say that the violence will go away, but that would be naive, certainly."

But police say they are whittling away at the top criminals who created and control the gangs.

Last month, the United Nations' founder, Clayton Roueche, pleaded guilty in a Seattle court to trying to import more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States.

Last month, police also swooped down on three other UN members and associates: Barzan Tilli-Choli, 26, Karwan Saed, 32, and Aram Ali, 23. All were charged with conspiring to kill the Red Scorpions' Bacon brothers.

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The Bacon brothers have been implicated in the shocking multiple slaying of six men in a Surrey, B.C., apartment building in the fall of 2007.

More than 20 people have been killed since the beginning of the year in what police describe as "targeted hits." Scores more have been injured. The violence has tainted Vancouver's reputation and drawn derision from international media who have commented on the Olympic city's bloody street battles.

Police said yesterday that five other men have also been charged in the Bacon brothers murder conspiracy. They are: Soroush Ansari, 28, Dilun Heng, 25, Daniel Russell, 27, Yong Sung John Lee, 27 and John William Croituru, a former World Wrestling Federation wrestler who went by the names K-9 and Bruiser Bedlam.

During the police probe of the UN gang, police also seized weapons, drugs, cash, ammunition and explosives, including more than 20 firearms with more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition, grenades and $265,000 in cash.

While police have made inroads with gang arrests, the violence in the Vancouver area has not waned. Earlier this month, two male high-school students in Abbotsford, B.C., were shot, their bodies found in a truck two days later. Police said those students and two other young men found dead in March were low-level drug dealers caught up in the gang war.

The four men were all thought to be rookie members of the Red Scorpions gang, police said, noting that the gangs are now targeting people on the lowest rungs of the organization.

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