In real-world news that sounds like it came straight out of the Showtime comedy Weeds, a mother of three from a wealthy New York City suburb has been accused of running a massive cannabis empire.
Drug Enforcement Agency officials arrested Andrea K. Sanderlin, 45, two weeks ago outside of a Queens warehouse where she is charged with running a $3 million marijuana business under the front “Fantastic Enterprises.” According to a U.S. District court filing posted online by The Smoking Gun, law enforcement agents discovered “state of the art” lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems for growing marijuana during a May 20th raid and seized about 2,800 plants and dried marijuana plus $6,000 in cash and books from the building. Near Sanderlin’s residence in Scarsdale, authorities seized $7,900 from a nanny, who was allegedly delivering cash to Sanderlin’s boyfriend and the child’s father Victor Garcia.
How’d authorities realize something fishy was going on? According to the criminal complaint, “unusually high” electricity usage at the warehouse was the first tip. The Westchester County resident was charged with narcotics trafficking, a felony that could lead to a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty, and her lawyer Joel Winograd says she is a “full-time mother” who has no criminal record.
Perhaps Sanderlin caught the entrepreneurial spirit while watching Weeds, the seven-year cable drama that ended its run last year and starred Mary Louise-Parker as a single mom who moonlights as a drug dealer in suburban California to support her family. Neighbors have described Sanderlin as an ordinary mother of three who drove a Mercedes-Benz SUV and enjoyed horseback riding at Twin Lakes Academy in Bronxville, a town close by. In fact, Scott Tarter, owner of the equestrian school, told CNN that he thought she worked in interior design.
This bust also comes a month after a former Scarsdale High School guidance counselor pleaded guilty to “hindering prosecution and criminal possession of a controlled substance,” two charges associated with his Nov. 20 arrest for using drugs and soliciting prostitutes, the Journal News reports.