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California Pastor Arrested and Charged With Conspiring to Murder Daughter’s Boyfriend

By Liz Lykins
cebreros pastor riverside murder
Juan Manuel Cebreros (left) and Samuel Pasillas. (Photos: Riverside Police Dept.)

A California pastor has been arrested and charged with conspiring to murder his daughter’s boyfriend, according to a declaración from the Riverside Police Department in Riverside, California.

Pastor Samuel Pasillas, 47, hired a gunman for nearly $40,000 to kill the boyfriend, the statement said.

Pasillas is a pastor at the Spanish-speaking church, Centro Internacional de Oracion, in Victorville, California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

El Informe Roys (TRR) reached out to the church for comment but did not hear back prior to publication.

Pasillas is facing charges of solicitation for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

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(Photo: Flickr / Creative commons)

Police also arrested 55-year-old Juan Manuel Cebreros, whom Pasillas allegedly hired as a hitman. 

Cebreros conducted surveillance on the boyfriend for weeks before shooting him, according to the police statement. Cebreros has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Police first learned of the scheme after getting called to the hospital in October 2023. An unidentified victim with several gunshot wounds told police that he had been injured when a vehicle pulled up beside his car and opened fire. The victim said the incident happened around 7 p.m. in Riverside.

“Gunfire came from this other vehicle and he was struck several times,” the statement said, noting that police discovered evidence of this at the scene of the shooting. The victim then drove himself to the hospital, the statement added.

As the police investigation progressed, detectives learned that the incident was a murder-for-hire, police said.

In addition to money, Pasillas provided the hit man with information about the victim, including where he would be on the evening of the October shooting, according to police. 

Last week, Pasillas and Cebreros were arrested while police said they conducted raids in Victorville, Long Beach, and Lynwood. Pasillas and Cebreros are currently being held in jail on $1 million bail, police said.

The two men are next scheduled to appear in Riverside County Superior Court on March 26, according to Riverside County Superior Court records.

The pastor and Cebreros have both pleaded not guilty to all charges, the registros de la corte fijado.

The investigation is ongoing, police added. According to the Los Angeles Times, there may be a third man connected to the case, who has yet to be arrested.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins escribe for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.

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Su donación deducible de impuestos ayuda a nuestros periodistas a informar la verdad y responsabilizar a los líderes y organizaciones cristianos. Haga una donación de $30 o más a The Roys Report este mes y recibirá una copia de “¿Y si Jesús hablara en serio acerca de la Iglesia?” por Skye Jethani.