Police say a major player in the Chattanooga drug trade is off now off the streets. After an undercover investigation, federal marshals arrested 28-year-old Jeremy Ellis for distributing crack cocaine.

Police say his dealings were happening just yards away from a local church. Police used an undercover informant to make several buys off Ellis. Audio and video recordings caught some of the buys. While the pastor of the church is glad Ellis was caught he wants criminals to know it is never too late to turn their lives around.

Channel 3 knocked on the door of Jeremy Ellis' home where police say he "manufactured and distributed crack." Ellis' girlfriend answered but did not want to talk about her boyfriend's federal drug case. She did say they had been together for 10 years and he had never been in real trouble before. But Channel 3 uncovered court records that show Ellis has been arrested with drugs and guns over and over.


A federal criminal complaint details his latest charges where investigators documented Ellis "delivering crack cocaine" to a police informant on at least five separate occasions. It also documents that just days after Ellis' arrest, there was an "attempted assassination" when "multiple shots were fired" at the informant in front of his home.

"If there's anybody that needs The Lord more than anybody else, it's this area," says Joey Harris.

Joey Harris is pastor of Harmony Baptist Church which sits on the same street as Ellis' home. Despite warnings about drugs in the neighborhood, he and his family moved to the area six months ago and he took on the challenge of pastoring a church that is often a target of vandalism.   

"It doesn't scare me," says Harris. "To be honest with you, drugs are in every area of every part of our community. It's from the wealthy and the affluent all the way down to the areas that you find around Chattanooga."

He says while he is glad Ellis was caught, he wants others in the community to know they have a place to turn to for help.

"It's a good thing to have that person off the street because we don't want him to hurt anybody else or influence anybody else. But at the same time we want to make sure that they understand that there is an exit to this type of lifestyle."

Ellis is a known gang member. He still sits in jail, waiting on his next court date, as his case has yet to be presented to a federal grand jury.