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California Pastor Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Samuel Pasillias is accused of hiring several hitmen to kill his daughter’s boyfriend

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A California pastor has been arrested after local law enforcement learned he allegedly paid thousands of dollars to several men to kill a man his daughter was romantically involved with.

Juan Manuel Cebreros (L) and Samuel Pasillas (R) / Photos via Riverside Police Department

Samuel Pasillias, a pastor of a Spanish-speaking church was arrested Tuesday in San Bernardino County, where he faces a string of charges ranging from solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Police began their investigation into Pasillias’ alleged crimes in October 2023. Police from the Riverside Police Department were dispatched to a local hospital where a man had just walked in with gunshot wounds. Riverside Police Department said in a statement, “The male adult victim stated he was driving on Grove Community Drive approaching Plainview Street when another vehicle pulled up alongside him. Gunfire came from this other vehicle, and he was struck several times.”

Detectives looked into the victim’s story further and learned the shooting suspects had been hired by the 47-year-old pastor, who was also the father of the woman the victim was dating. “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,” RPD said.

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Police state that the shooters were paid nearly $40,000 by Pasillias. When asked about a possible motive, authorities said that a motivating factor was the man’s religious beliefs.

Another man, 55 year old Juan Manuel Cebreros, was also arrested as a result of the investigation. As one of the alleged gunmen, he was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. A third man, Jesus Abel Felix Garcia, is under warrant and being sought by detectives, according to KESQ.

Pasillias is currently in custody at the Robert Presley Detention Center and is being held on $1 million bail.

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Daniel Ritchie

Daniel Ritchie is an evangelist, speaker and author from Wake Forest, NC. He has spoken nationally and internationally to churches, colleges, seminaries, conferences and professional sports teams. He is the author of two books - My Affliction for His Glory & Endure. He is a husband to Heather and daddy of two children.