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article imageNY soccer mom busted in large marijuana grow operation

By Arthur Weinreb     Jun 5, 2013 in Crime
Scarsdale - The wealthy divorced mother of two from Scarsdale, New York, was arrested after it was alleged she operated a sophisticated marijuana grow operation from a warehouse in Queens.
Andrea Sanderlin, 45, was arrested on May 20 but the details concerning her arrest were only reported yesterday by The Smoking Gun. According to a court filing, a confidential informant (CI) approached agents with the DEA in mid-April. The CI told the agents about a person named "Andi" who operated a large operation out of a warehouse in either Brooklyn or Queens. The CI said "Andi" provided seedlings to others in the grow-op business and made large cash purchases at a gardening store in Brooklyn. According to the CI, "Andi" drove a Mercedes SUV.
Although the informant is facing drug charges, agents found information provided in the past to be credible.
On May 20, DEA agents who had been watching Sanderlin for some time, stopped her and took her to a warehouse in Queens. After she refused to allow them entry into her premises, the agents got a warrant.
Inside they found about 1,000 marijuana plants growing and another 2,000 drying. The value of the drugs is estimated to be $3 million. Previous inquiries with Con Edison revealed that Sanderlin's business, operating under the name Fantastic Enterprises since 2009, had run up electric bills averaging $9,000 per month. The 45-year-old paid these bills in cash.
A search of the woman's large Scarsdale home turned up $6,000 in cash and books on growing marijuana and money laundering. Another $7,900 was seized from Sanderlin's nanny who was apparently trying to get it to the father of one of Sanderlin's children.
Sanderlin faces a charge of narcotics trafficking. If convicted of the felony, she faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Sanderlin, who has two daughters aged three and 13, spent a lot of time at a riding academy in Bronxville. She owned a horse that was boarded there and leased another one. She won several ribbons during her first riding competition.
Friends and neighbours were shocked. Jason Paris said, "It doesn't seem like something you would see in this area of Scarsdale." And friend Anthony Flores said, "When I first met her she told me she was running a baby furniture operation. [The arrest] blew my mind. Especially knowing her like interacting with her day to day. It's just nuts. I would think not her of all people."
Sanderlin's lawyer, Joel Winograd, described his client as a full time mom who is worried about her daughters and who has no criminal record. She intends to plead not guilty. The 45-year-old remains in custody until a bond hearing can be arranged.
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