Pastor arrested in murder-for-hire plot to kill his daughter’s boyfriend

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California police say they arrested a pastor on suspicion of attempted murder, accusing him of paying nearly $40,000 to have his daughter’s boyfriend shot in a murder-for-hire plot last year.

Police in Riverside, California, arrested Samuel Pasillas, 47, whom they identified as pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation in Victorville, about 40 miles north of San Bernardino, as well as Juan Manuel Cebreros, 55. , of Long Beach, as part of their investigation, they said Tuesday in a Press release.

They said the investigation into the shooting, which took place the night of Oct. 21, 2023 and left one man injured, is ongoing. Local media reported that police were searching for a third suspect whose whereabouts were unknown.

The victim, whom police did not identify, said last year he was shot several times from inside a car that stopped next to his in the Orangecrest neighborhood of Riverside, about 50 miles south of Victorville. He was injured and drove to a hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds, police said.

Five months later, police said their investigation revealed the incident was a “hired shooting.” They said they discovered evidence that Pasillas met with the hitmen, paid them and provided them with information about the whereabouts of her boyfriend on the night of the shooting.

Police said they obtained warrants to search homes in Victorville, Long Beach and Lynwood on March 13, after which they arrested Pasillas on charges of solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Cebreros was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, they said.

ABC7 Eyewitness News reported that both suspects pleaded not guilty at a joint arraignment Monday. An attorney for Pasillas could not be reached for comment Thursday morning, and it was not immediately clear whether Cebreros has retained an attorney.

Police did not say whether anyone else was involved in the alleged hit, although the news release referred to several men carrying out “surveillance on the victim in the weeks leading up to the time he was shot.”

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