A single mother living a double life by selling millions of dollars worth of marijuana. Sound familiar?
Much like the hit Showtime television show, “Weeds,” 45-year-old Andrea Sanderlin had been growing around 3,000 pot plants in a New York City warehouse, according to federal agents. Officers found “state-of-the-art cultivation equipment” inside the warehouse and valued the operation at $3 million, according to reports. Sanderlin was indicted and charged with manufacturing and possessing Marijuana with the intent to distribute it, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York.
Sanderlin was arrested two weeks ago for narcotics trafficking and can face a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Neighbors knew Sanderlin as an enthusiastic equestrian, and were shocked to find out about her arrest, including her long-time nanny. Sanderlin’s lawyer described her as a “full-time mother who had never been in trouble before.”
Sanderlin had managed to stay under the radar for five years until April, when five men were arrested for growing marijuana in New York City warehouses. One of the men cooperated with the police and told them that he knew at least one grow house in either Brooklyn or Queens.
The man, who’s name was not released in court files, told police that the grower, a woman he knew by the name Andi, lived in Scarsdale and drove a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
After plenty of investigating, police saw a property owned by Sanderlin that had an unusually high monthly electric bill. Knowing that $9,000 a month was too high for an average Queens warehouse, police concluded that the building was being used as a growing facility and filed for a warrant.
Although Sanderlin confirmed that the warehouse was indeed hers, she refused to let the officers inside the building.
The police then continued to raid the warehouse, where they found exactly what they were looking for.
James Hayes, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said that at least $3 million worth of marijuana was found.
Hayes explains that the illegal growing, “wasn’t really hidden once you went into the warehouse. It was inside the rooms. The surprising thing about it was probably the lack of effort to conceal it. Which, obviously for us, made it a lot easier to find. Based on the information that we have right now, this was her only source of income. [She made her money] being a marijuana producer and distributor.”