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Arrest made in connection with drug death of Robert DeNiro's grandson

The body of Leandro Anthony De Niro-Rodriguez, an aspiring 19-year-old actor, was found July 2 in a suspected drug overdose.
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A 20-year-old woman was arrested and will face federal drug charges in connection with the overdose death of actor Robert De Niro's grandson Leandro Anthony De Niro-Rodriguez, law enforcement sources said Thursday.

Sophia Haley Marks, 20, is charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam, and two counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said.

Marks was arrested at about 6 p.m. Thursday, sources said.

De Niro-Rodriguez, an aspiring 19-year-old actor, was found unconscious July 2 at 55 Wall St., authorities said, less than a mile south from the courthouse where Marks is slated to appear.

The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene, police said, and a cause of death wasn't immediately revealed. But law enforcement sources said they believe his death was a drug overdose.

De Niro-Rodriguez's mom, Drena De Niro, is the daughter of the two-time Oscar winner.

Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement that Marks was arrested in connection with distributing fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid.

“The arrest was critical because, as we allege, Marks knew the pills could kill, and she continued selling them anyway,” Williams said in the statement. He said an investigation was ongoing.

A federal public defender listed as representing Marks in court records did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Marks communicated with the person who died on June 29 and July 2 via text message, according to a criminal complaint. The identity of the person who died is not listed in the document, but referred to as the victim.

Marks allegedly sold three counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and two tablets of alprazolam, or Xanax, to the 19-year-old, and that person died on July 2 after taking one of the counterfeit oxycodone pills, the complaint says.

On June 30, Marks in a text said of pills “ I j[ust] don’t like serving u them cuz they not script,” meaning prescription, an NYPD detective wrote in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.

After the drugs had been delivered, at around 1:50 a.m. July 2, Marks texted that person, "u good?" and there was no response, the detective wrote in the affidavit.

CORRECTION (Aug. 9, 2023, 10:51 ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of Sophia Marks. She is Sophia, not Sofia.