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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Indiana

For Immediate Release

August 19, 2011

David Capp, United States Attorney

Contact: Mary Hatton
(219) 937-5603

Violent Felon Gang Leader Resentenced

South Bend, Indiana — The United States Attorney’s Office announced:

Bernard Ellis was resentenced this week by Judge Robert Miller, Jr. to forty years imprisonment, the same sentence originally imposed, after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the original sentence for reconsideration.

Ellis was the number 2 person in the Gangster Disciples (with the title Chief Enforcer). He used several straw purchasers from the Elkhart, Indiana area to purchase firearms from 2003 through May 2005, including two AK–47 assault rifles (one with a high capacity magazine) and six 9mm handguns, that he took to Chicago for his own use and the use of his violent street gang. His criminal history was long and serious, involving convictions for violent crimes and other criminal acts essentially unbroken since 1983.

On November 10, 2005, a grand jury in South Bend, Indiana, returned a nine–count indictment against Bernard Ellis charging him with five counts of making a false and fictitious written statement to a licensed firearms dealer and four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Ellis’ jury trial began July 22, 2008 and a guilty verdict as to all nine counts was returned on July 24, 2008. Bernard Ellis was sentenced to the following imprisonment terms: 480 months on each of counts 3,5,7, and 9; 120 months on each of counts 1,2,4,6, and 8, with all terms to run concurrently to each other and with any other undischarged term of imprisonment. The sentence was to be followed by a 5–year supervised release term.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Project Disarm Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Donald Schmid.