GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) — Three Arizona men have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with what police say is the latest in a string of drug-related homicides in Garden Grove.

Victor Rene Larios, 29, Jacob Alexander Ruiz, 24, and Joseph Anthony Ruiz, 27, were arrested early Monday while leaving a hotel in Venice Beach. They were booked for the Sunday murder of 32-year-old Thien Hoang Phan of Irvine, police said.

From L-R: Victor Rene Larios, Jacob Alexander Ruiz, Joseph Anthony Ruiz. (credit: Garden Grove Police Department)

Detectives say Phan was shot to death during a marijuana sales transaction with the suspects at a Garden Grove home in Westminster Avenue.

Phan’s murder is the third in Garden Grove this year outside the operation of legal marijuana businesses. The murders are not related, but the motive for each was robbery for cash or drugs, police said.

The first drug-related killing happened on April 29, when a man from out of state tried to rob a courier for cash at a stash house for marijuana sales, police said. The courier claimed to have shot and killed 35-year-old Brandon Nicholas Ross in self-defense.

On July 8, several suspects shot 25-year-old Shon Xavier Hall while demanding cash and drugs in an early-morning home invasion robbery. No arrests have been made in this murder and it remains under investigation.

Police believe the three men suspected in Sunday’s murder came from Arizona because recreational use is still illegal in that state.

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