By EW Staff
Updated August 15, 2009 at 04:39 AM EDT

According to Variety, Brazilian TV crime show host Wallace Souza is suspected of ordering at least five killings to boost his show’s popularity. The popular Canal Livre shows police raids and arrests but police in the city of Manaus have become suspicious of the speed Souza and his crew get to the crime scenes, in one case showing up while gun smoke was still coming out of a victim’s body.

Police have arrested 15 people linked to Souza, who is also a state representative and former police officer, including his sons, a show producer and bodyguard. Testimony from one ex-police officer links a victim on the show as being an ordered killing by Souza as a way to eliminate a rival in organized crime, while Souza’s son’s testomony led to a police raid on Souza’s home where 250,000 reals; $15,000 in American currency; and assault rifles were found. Police have charged Souza for drug trafficking, gang formation and weapons possession, but as long as he is a state representative he has legislative immunity and cannot be arrested. Though Souza denies the charges, a special task force has been formed to investigate, which includes a judge and state government secretary of police who are under 24-hour police protection.