Woman charged with selling fentanyl-laced pills to De Niro's grandson
A woman has been arrested on federal narcotics charges for allegedly selling pills laced with fentanyl that led to the death of actor Robert De Niro's 19-year-old grandson, authorities said Friday.
Sofia Haley Marks, 20, was arrested Thursday by New York City police officers and federal drug agents on charges of selling drugs to Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the arrest.
Marks faces three counts of distribution of narcotics, according to a federal complaint filed Friday that did not identify Rodriguez as the victim in the case.
Marks was expected to appear in federal court later Friday. There were no online booking records for Marks' arrest Friday, and it couldn't be determined if she has an attorney who might speak on her behalf.
Rodriguez was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on July 2. His cause of death remains under investigation, a spokesperson for the city medical examiner's office said.
In the complaint filed Friday, detectives said that on July 1, the day before Rodriguez's death, Marks sold him three counterfeit oxycodone pills that were laced with fentanyl, and another two counterfeit Xanax pills. Rodriguez died after ingesting one of the oxycodone pills, detectives allege in the complaint.
On July 9, and again on Thursday, Marks sold a total of 50 suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills to undercover police officers, the complaint reads. When she was arrested Thursday, Marks was carrying 156 counterfeit oxycodone pills and $1,500 in cash, detectives said.
Rodriguez was the son of Drena De Niro, the oldest child of Robert De Niro, and artist Carlos Mare.
Like his famous grandfather, Rodriguez was an actor who had appeared with his mother in projects including Bradley Cooper's 2018 remake of "A Star is Born."
Robert De Niro said after Rodriguez's death that he was "deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo." A representative for him didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the arrest.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 times more powerful than heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on provisional data, there were more than 107,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2022, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl accounting for two-thirds of those.