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Brazilian TV Host Accused of Ordering Executions to Boost Ratings

The host of a television crime show in Brazil is under investigation for allegedly ordering killings to boost the popularity of his show.

Wallace Souza is a state lawmaker who hosted Canal Livre which aired in Manaus, in a remote Amazon region. Police say he is suspected of trafficking in drugs and commissioning at least five murders aimed at simultaneously boosting his show's ratings and killing off his competition in the drug trade.

Authorities say their investigations show either Souza or his son would order the killings and then contact news crews to tell them where to find the victims. The news crews often arrived at the crime scene before police. Souza would then show the pictures on his program, proclaiming the area of Manaus was "awash in violent crime."

Souza's attorney says the allegations are politically motivated. So far, no formal charges have been filed.

The show became very popular before it was taken off the air last year when police intensified their investigation.

Souza's son has already been arrested on charges of murder, drug trafficking and involvement with organized crime.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.