Pastor paid hitmen nearly $40K to kill daughter’s boyfriend: police

The bullet-damaged windshield of Pastor Samuel Pasillas' alleged victim.
The bullet-damaged windshield of Pastor Samuel Pasillas' alleged victim. | Riverside Police Department

A California pastor who allegedly paid hitmen nearly $40,000 last October to kill his daughter's boyfriend has been arrested and charged with solicitation for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Forty-seven-year-old Samuel Pasillas of Victorville leads the Spanish-speaking Centro Internacional de Oracion. The church did immediately respond to calls from The Christian Post Wednesday.

Pastor Samuel Pasillas.
Pastor Samuel Pasillas. | Riverside Police Department

Investigators from the Riverside Police Department did not identify the victim of the October 21, 2023 attack but said in a statement that they were called in initially to a local hospital around 7 p.m. after a man arrived with gunshot wounds in the Orangecrest neighborhood of Riverside.

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"The male adult victim stated he was driving on Grove Community Drive approaching Plainview Street when another vehicle pulled up alongside him," the statement reads. "Gunfire came from this other vehicle, and he was struck several times. The victim drove himself to the hospital and was treated for his injuries, and officers located evidence of a shooting on Grove Community Drive and Plainview Street."

Detectives discovered the alleged murder-for-hire nature of the shooting after a follow-up investigation.

Juan Manuel Cebreros.
Juan Manuel Cebreros. | Riverside Police Department

"The victim had been dating a woman whose father is a pastor for a Spanish-speaking church in the city of Victorville. The father was identified as 47-year-old Samuel Pasillas of Victorville," the release said.

Authorities say the pastor met with the men he hired to kill his daughter's boyfriend and gave them information about him, including where he was located on the night of the shooting.

"Detectives also determined these men were paid almost $40,000 by the father and had conducted surveillance on the victim in the weeks leading up to when they shot him," police said.

The bullet-damaged car of the man Pastor Samuel Pasillas allegedly hired hitmen to kill.
The bullet-damaged car of the man Pastor Samuel Pasillas allegedly hired hitmen to kill. | Riverside Police Department

Pasillas was arrested last Wednesday along with Juan Manuel Cebreros, 55, of Long Beach. Pasillas pleaded not guilty to all the charges, according to Riverside County Superior Court records cited by The Los Angeles Times.

Cebreros was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon. Both men are in custody at the Robert Presley Detention Center, where bail has been set at $1 million each.

Jesus Abel Felix Garcia is also under warrant and being sought by detectives, according to City News Service

"This investigation is still ongoing and there are no other details to release at this time," police said.

Individuals with additional information about the case are being urged to contact Detective Nic Cantino at (951) 353-7104 or Information can also be shared anonymously via the email

Pasillas and Cebreros are expected to appear for a felony settlement conference on March 26.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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