Leandro De Niro Rodriguez: Arrest made in Robert De Niro’s grandson’s death

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Leandro De Niro with mom Drena & Robert De Niro
An arrest has been made in connection with Robert De Niro’s grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez’s death, according to reports.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested on federal narcotics charges and is accused of selling the drugs that led to the death of actor Robert De Niro’s 19-year-old grandson, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press Friday.

The woman, Sofia Haley Marks, appeared in Manhattan federal court on Friday and agreed to remain behind bars until she requests bail at a later date. Prosecutors said they would oppose a request for her release.

Marks was arrested Thursday evening on three counts of narcotics distribution stemming from the sale of drugs to De Niro Rodriguez, the law enforcement official said. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The New York Post and ABC News also reported the arrest, citing law enforcement sources.

USA TODAY reached out to the New York Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York and a representative for De Niro.

Amy Gallicchio, an assistant federal defender who represented Marks on Friday, said Marks planned to hire a lawyer. Gallicchio declined comment outside court.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that at least one of the fake oxycodone pills sold by Marks was “taken by a teenager who subsequently died of a suspected overdose.” Rodriguez was not identified by name in court documents.

Williams said the arrest “was critical because, as we allege, Marks knew the pills could kill, and she continued selling them anyway.”

The prosecutor said fentanyl was now the primary killer of Americans from ages 18 to 49. An estimated 109,680 people died from drug overdoses in 2022, including about 75,000 from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

“More than cancer, car accidents, or gun violence. It is a law enforcement crisis and a public health crisis. And we are doing everything we can to stop it,” he said.

Rodriguez’s cause of death remains under investigation, a spokesperson for the city medical examiner’s office said.

Drena De Niro, De Niro Rodriguez’s mother, shared that she believed her son died from “fentanyl laced pills,” last week.

The actress, 51, shared the news of her son’s death on social media on July 2 alongside a photo of the 19-year-old.

Drena De Niro was asked in the comments section of a post sharing a statement from her and her father Robert De Niro how the 19-year-old died. “Someone sold him fentanyl laced pills that they knew were laced yet still sold them to him,” she wrote.

“So for all these people still … selling and buying this (expletive), my son is gone forever,” the actress added.

Robert De Niro with daughter Drena

Robert De Niro said he was “deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo” in a statement shared with USA TODAY on July 3 by his representative Stan Rosenfield.

“We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo,” he said.

Contributing: Anika Reed and Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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