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Press Release

Columbia Man Affiliated with Street Gang Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Firearms and Drug Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Marek Cortez Brewer, Jr., 24, of Columbia, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and to possession of a firearm in connection with drug trafficking.

Evidence presented in Court shows that between February 2020 and February 2022, Brewer was in illegal possession of at least 5 firearms on 5 separate occasions, 3 of which were stolen firearms and several of which were used in other felony crimes such as attempted murders, shootings, armed robbery, drug trafficking, and flight from the police. 

First, on February 22, 2020, Brewer was arrested in Columbia with a 9mm pistol and drug trafficking tools – a digital scale, five plastic bags with marijuana inside, numerous empty plastic bags, and a plastic bag with pills.

Second, on November 14, 2020, Brewer was arrested again in Columbia with a stolen and loaded.40 caliber pistol and marijuana after Richland County deputies responded to an area following a report of 6 shots fired. 

Third, on January 11, 2021, Brewer was arrested in Fairfield County after taking S.C. Highway Patrol on a car chase that reached 125 miles per hour and crossed into two counties.  The vehicle Brewer was driving was stolen out of Cayce, and when Brewer fled on foot, he dropped a stolen and loaded 9mm pistol.  From jail, Brewer made a recorded call that he got into a “high speed” with a firearm and that he was going to have to go “back up the road,” but that he was “not even mad.”  An ATF forensic investigation determined the firearm recovered from this incident was used in a shooting on Assembly Street in Columbia on December 8, 2020, about one month before it was recovered from Brewer.  

Fourth, on May 18, 2021, Brewer was arrested in Columbia for his alleged involvement in the armed robbery of a firearm from a victim.  In that robbery, three armed males approached the victim and told him to empty his pockets and hand over the “thing.”  A firearm was in the victim’s pocket.  The victim handed over the firearm and fled, and as he did, shots were fired. When Brewer was arrested on this date, he was found with the .40 caliber pistol stolen from that victim.

Fifth, on February 26, 2022, Brewer was arrested again in Columbia for his alleged involvement in the shooting of two victims – one in the back and one above the left eye – from a vehicle travelling on River Drive in Columbia.  Brewer again took the police on a chase that exceeded 100 miles per hour before he was arrested with suspected narcotics, a digital scale, $900 in U.S. currency, and a 9mm pistol. 

Evidence presented in Court also indicated that Brewer is affiliated with a documented street gang.

Senior United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten sentenced Brewer to 15 years in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system. 

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) as well as the Columbia Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), who conducted firearm and shell casing forensic examinations.  Assistant United States Attorney Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

As for the forensic examination of the firearm and shell casings, this case relied on  ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit



Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated February 3, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses