A Scarsdale, N.Y., woman who had made headlines as the “Pot Mom” is out on bail after being arrested in May in a Maspeth marijuana case, according to authorities.
Andrea Sanderlin, 45, was charged with conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants out of a Maspeth warehouse. She pleaded not guilty, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said.
A group of acquaintances posted her $500,000 bail Monday.
Under the name “Fantastic Enterprises,” Sanderlin had allegedly created a sophisticated grow operation which contained state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems used to facilitate growing marijuana, federal prosecutors said.
In April, an anonymous witness reportedly told the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that someone named “Andi” had a grow operation in either Brooklyn or Queens, according to court documents.
In early May DEA agents then contacted Con Edison about accounts under the woman’s name. The electric company then identified the warehouse, at 58-15 57th Drive in Maspeth, because it was using an unusually large amount of electricity, sometimes generating bills of $9,000 a month. Sanderlin had also been paying her bills with cash, according to the electric company.
Agents also learned that Fantastic Enterprises was registered as a New York State corporation from 2007 to 2011.
For about four days straight agents watched the suburban stay-at-home mother of three travel between her lavish Scarsdale home and the warehouse in her gray Mercedes SUV, according to court papers.
Agents then confronted Sanderlin. She confirmed that the warehouse was hers, but denied the agents entry. They then obtained a search warrant, which led to the discovery of two separate rooms that housed about 2,800 plants and dried marijuana worth an estimated $3 million, prosecutors said.
If convicted, Sanderlin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to $10 million in fines, according to the DEA.
“There’s really no difference whether you’re a suburban mom growing marijuana in a warehouse in Queens, or a cartel member making cocaine in the jungles of Colombia — manufacturing and distributing illegal narcotics comes at a hefty price when you are caught by law enforcement,” DEA Agent James Hayes said in a statement.
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cn
©2013 Community News Group
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