A New York mother faces federal drug charges after being busted for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar marijuana business out of a Queens warehouse.
Andrea Sanderlin, 45, put her green thumb to work, reports the New York Daily News, orchestrating a “sophisticated operation to grow and process marijuana.” The warehouse included two massive rooms with lighting equipment as well as a system to irrigate and ventilate the hydroponic marijuana, reports WCBS.
Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency busted Sanderlin when they raided the business, which went under the name Fantastic Enterprises. She had been under surveillance for days, with agents following her from her home in suburban Scarsdale to the warehouse. And according to court papers, they also found that the warehouse was using large amounts of electricity -- a fact that increased their suspicions of drug-growing activity.
Sanderlin was confronted by the feds on May 20, but she refused to let them in. After obtaining a search warrant, they entered the warehouse to discover the pot-growing operation.
They seized around 2,800 plants as well as "large quantities of marijuana," according to court papers. The plants recovered have an estimated worth of $3 million.
Sanderlin's home was raided as well. There agents said they discovered books on growing marijuana and money laundering. They also found about $6,000 in cash.
Those who knew Sanderlin were shocked to hear the news about the divorced mother of two daughters, ages 13 and 3.
“It doesn't seem like something you would see in this area of Scarsdale at all,” Jason Paris said.
Scott Tarter of Twin Lakes Farm -- where Sanderlin rode horses several days a week -- was also surprised at her arrest.
“It’s not something I would’ve expected. She was a mom. I never saw anything out of the ordinary,” Tarter said.
Sanderlin has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants. She faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges, and the feds did not say how long she had been in the weed-growing business.