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Brazilian Police Arrest Suspect in Journalist's Murder - 2002-09-19

Brazilian police have captured a drug lord in Rio de Janeiro believed responsible for the murder of a television journalist in June. The drug lord's capture followed a massive police deployment in one of the city's shantytowns.

Police captured Elias Pereira da Silva after surrounding a Rio de Janeiro slum where he was hiding. More than 200 police were involved in the massive manhunt, which began earlier in the week.

The drug lord, known as "Crazy Elias", surrendered without resistance. He is accused of ordering the murder of television journalist Tim Lopes in June.

Mr. Lopes, who was known for his documentaries on the drug trade, was working undercover investigating child prostitution and cocaine dealing at parties organized by drug traffickers. Mr. Lopes was seized by local drug dealers and then allegedly on orders of Crazy Elias savagely tortured and killed. The remains of his burnt body were discovered weeks after his disappearance.

The murder of the journalist shocked Rio de Janeiro and drew renewed attention to the growing power of drug traffickers in the city's slums. International Press Watchdog groups also issued statements of concern about the situation.

Police are holding six other men captured in recent weeks in connection with the murder of Tim Lopes. Two other suspects were killed by police after resisting arrest.