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Suspects Arrested in Connection With Irvine Man’s Body Found in Trunk

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Two men suspected of involvement in the death of an Irvine man in 2019 have been arrested.   The body was found in the trunk of a parked car in Stanton, according to the Orange County Police Department announcement on Oct. 15.

Deputies found the body of 31-year-old Jeffrey Cheng in the trunk of a grey, four-door Lexus along the 12000 block of Leafwood Street at around 10 a.m. on March 8, 2019. 

A Leafwood resident informed television reporters that he had reviewed home security camera footage showing the Lexus pull to a stop at about 10:48 p.m. on March 7, 2019. A light colored van was said to have followed.

“One person got out of the Lexus; another exited the van,” the resident said. 

According to the LA times, “they appeared to open the Lexus’ trunk, look inside and close the trunk. Then they got into the van and drove away.” The Lexus was confirmed to have been registered to Cheng. 

Although it remains unclear how Cheng was killed and how long his body was in the trunk, blood was found on the outside of the car and the driver’s side window had been shattered.

Jonathan Ho, 32, and Nicholas Nguyen, 27, were arrested without incident on Oct. 14 after sheriff’s homicide investigators executed warrants in Marina del Rey and Oklahoma City with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Office, the Sheriff’s Department reported

Ho, a Marina del Rey resident, was taken into custody on suspicion of possession of metal knuckles and drug-related charges, according to KTLA 5.

Investigators have not said how they think Ho was involved in the killing. He posted bail and was released at around 6 a.m. on Oct. 15.

Nguyen, an Oklahoma City resident, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He is presently awaiting an extradition hearing that will determine whether he will be transported to California, according to the OC Register.

Sgt. Ryan Anderson, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said the investigation into Nguyen’s involvement is ongoing. The motive of the crime and relations between the suspects and victim are undetermined. 

According to officials, detectives found “three firearms, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills and 5,000 methamphetamine pills,” with the fentanyl pills holding a value of about $30,000. 

“The arrests made in this case moves us closer to achieving justice for the victim and his family,” OC Sheriff Don Barnes said in a Twitter post. 

Veronica Garza is a City News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at garzavc@uci.edu.