Riverside Police Department Press Release


For Immediate Release

Date August 6, 2004
Contact Sergeant Steve Johnson
Phone (909) 320-8005
Fax (909) 320-8043


Riverside Man Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Riverside, Ca-  Riverside Police Gang and Metro Officers arrested 26 year-old Thomas Pena of Riverside for his role in the 2003 murder of Oscar Carrillo of Moreno Valley. Pena is believed to be the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in Carrillo’s death.

On Wednesday October 1, 2003, 27 year-old Carrillo was shot and killed in front of the Lube Experts business located at 11850 Magnolia Avenue. At approximately 10:40 A.M. a 1991 gray Saturn occupied by several people parked in front of the business. Carrillo spoke to the occupants through the open front passenger window. Moments later, the right front passenger pointed a gun at Carrillo and fired several shots. Carrillo was struck in his upper torso. He was transported to Riverside Community Hospital where he died. No one else was injured.

Several witnesses provided descriptions of the vehicle and its occupants. At approximately 6 P.M. investigators located the vehicle in the City of Corona. The female driver, 27 year-old Veronica Cantu of Corona, was arrested for 32 P.C. Accessory to Murder and 182 P.C. Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

On Thursday October 2, 2003 at approximately 9:45 P.M. members of the Riverside Police Department’s Metro and P.A.C.T. team arrested 27 year-old Leroy Gutierrez of Riverside. Police located him in the 10600 block of Bingham Avenue in Riverside. Gutierrez fled from the police on foot but was located by a Police K9. He was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center and will be charged with 187 P.C. Murder. Gutierrez is currently on parole for 246 P.C. Discharge-of-a-Firearm. Pena and Gutierrez have been associates for many years.

Detective Ron Whitt, the lead investigator, learned early in the investigation that Pena likely played a role in the murder. Throughout the past 10 months Detective Whitt continued his investigation. He interviewed numerous associates, family members, and witnesses. The District Attorneys Office reviewed the case today, resulting in an Arrest Warrant being issued for Pena’s arrest. Pena was stopped in a vehicle at about 7:00 P.M near the intersection of La Sierra and Indiana Avenues. He was taken into custody without incident. Police are not releasing further details of the investigation.