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Brazilian Police Confirm Death of Journalist - 2002-06-10

Brazilian police have confirmed the death of a Brazilian journalist who disappeared more than a week ago in a Rio de Janeiro slum while working undercover investigating drug trafficking activities. Journalist Tim Lopes was allegedly executed by drug traffickers.

Police are searching for the remains of Mr. Lopes after confirming his death from the accounts of two suspects arrested during the weekend.

The suspects, members of a drug gang, provided police with details of Mr. Lopes' capture and execution-style murder by a local drug lord. They told police the body was then burned and the remains buried in a secret gravesite used for victims of the traffickers.

Mr. Lopes, a reporter with the Globo television network, disappeared eight days ago in a Rio de Janeiro slum while working undercover with a small hidden camera. He was investigating reports of drug dealing and the sexual exploitation of minors at parties hosted by local drug traffickers.

An award-winning journalist, Mr. Lopes' disappearance sparked an outcry among Brazilian and international press groups.

His killing occurs during an upsurge of drug-related violence in Rio in recent weeks, as rival drug gangs battle over turf.

A statement by the Globo television network condemned what it called the "brutal murder" of Tim Lopes, saying his death is troubling to his colleagues, other journalists and to citizens in general.

TV Globo went on to express confidence there will be no stop to the kind of investigative work done by Mr. Lopes to shed light on the darker sides of society.