Riverside County pastor arrested in murder-for-hire scheme


A Riverside County pastor was arrested in a murder-for-hire scheme this week after an investigation determined he had hired a man to kill the person dating his daughter. 

Police were called to a hospital on Oct. 21, 2023 after learning of a person that had arrived with several gunshot wounds that happened during a car-to-car shooting in the Orangecrest neighborhood, according to a statement from the Riverside Police Department. 

The man, who drove himself to the hospital, told investigators that the shooting happened at around 7 p.m. as he drove along Grove Community Drive towards Plainview Street when another car pulled up alongside him. 

“Gunfire came from this other vehicle and he was struck several times,” the police statement said, noting that they discovered evidence at the scene of the shooting.

Robbery-Homicide detectives initiated a follow-up investigation, which led them to determine that the incident was a murder-for-hire shooting. 

“The victim had been dating a woman whose father is a pastor for a Spanish-speaking church in the city of Victorville,” the police statement said. 

They identified the pastor as Samuel Pasillas, 47, of Victorville. 

“During their investigation, detectives uncovered evidence the father met with the men he hired and provided them information about the victim, including his location the evening of the shooting,” police said. 

They also learned that the men were paid nearly $40,000 by the father, and that they had conducted surveillance on the victim for several weeks prior to the date of the shooting. 

On March 13, officers served search warrants at houses in Victorville, Long Beach and Lynwood, leading to the arrest of Pasillas. He was booked for solicitation for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He remains jailed on $1 million bail. 

Police also arrested Juan Manuel Cebreros, 55, of Long Beach, who was also booked for conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held on $1 million bail. 

The investigation remains ongoing. 

Anyone with further information is asked to contact detectives at (951) 353-7104.


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