NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Following a two-day trial, a federal jury in Nashville convicted a Clarksville man of drug trafficking and firearms offenses, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Officials said 29-year-old Mark “Bubba Rachi” Ellis was convicted of conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, more than 400 grams of fentanyl; being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to officials, Ellis and his wife, 23-year-old Yennifer Angeles, were indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2022, one month after being arrested by the Clarksville Police Department (CPD).
“We will relentlessly pursue violent drug dealers like this one to hold them accountable for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Henry C. Leventis. “I commend the trial team, the Clarksville Police Department and ATF for their work investigating and prosecuting this important case. The citizens of Clarksville are safer because of their efforts.”
Based on evidence and testimony introduced at trial, Clarksville officers used a confidential informant to make a controlled fentanyl purchase from Ellis while sitting in his car at a home on Mark Spitz Drive.
During the transaction, Angeles allegedly got out of the car, went into the house, and returned with a baggie of fentanyl that was sold to the informant.
Authorities said a 9mm handgun could be seen in the car during the transaction. The investigation and search of Ellis’ vehicle led to the recovery of a Ruger 9mm pistol, as well as the seizure of almost a pound of fentanyl from Ellis’ home.
While he was in the Montgomery County Jail, the DOJ said Ellis called his wife and told her to keep selling fentanyl. Within hours, police stopped Angeles in the same vehicle that was used in the drug deal from the day before.
Following further investigation, officials said law enforcement executed a search warrant on South Lancaster Road in Clarksville, where they found more than 40 grams of fentanyl.
“ATF and our law enforcement partners work tirelessly to disrupt the illegal possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics and other acts of violence within our community,” said Marcus Watson, special agent in charge of the Nashville field division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “The outcome of this case is the result of extremely great work done by the individuals that took part in this investigation.”
Ellis had previously been arrested for a Montgomery County murder charge in July 2021 in connection with the death of Taren Lyles, who was shot in her car, with her children in the backseat, in June 2018.
However, police said Ellis made bond in August 2021, so he was under electronic monitoring while awaiting the murder trial when he was investigated and arrested for the drug and firearms charges, which also stemmed from his involvement in a January 2022 shooting at a Clarksville Waffle House that left several people injured.
“I would like to commend the detectives and agents with the Clarksville Police Department’s Special Operations Unit, agents with the ATF, and the federal prosecutors who spent countless hours on this investigation,” Clarksville Police Chief David Crockarell said. “Their relentless pursuit of justice culminated with the guilty verdict ensures the citizens of Clarksville are much safer today.”
The DOJ said Ellis faces 15 years to life in prison after his sentencing on Dec. 8.
Meanwhile, Angeles — who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in March — is set to be sentenced on Aug. 9. She faces up to 20 years in prison, officials reported.