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'Marijuana mom' released on bail

Andrea Sanderlin leaves federal court after making bail

Andrea Sanderlin leaves federal court after making bail in the Brooklyn. Sanderlin was charged with growing thousands of marijuana plants worth millions of dollars out of a New York warehouse. (July 1, 2013) Credit: AP

Scarsdale "marijuana mom" Andrea Sanderlin was released on bail Monday after more than a month in jail for allegedly operating a massive grow house in Queens when four not-too-close friends agreed to sign a $500,000 bond on her behalf.

U.S. Magistrate Steven Gold said he wanted three of Sanderlin's relatives to also cosign by Wednesday because the friends -- including a hairstylist and a colorist from a Manhattan salon -- appeared to be casual acquaintances whom she might leave holding the bag.

"I'm worried about her, and whether she'll be constrained from fleeing because she's worried about them," said Gold, noting that Sanderlin had refused to detail her finances. "She hasn't worked, and she's living in Scarsdale driving a Mercedes SUV. I can't make that add up."

Sanderlin, 45, a single mother whose story of suburban drug-dealing seemed to mimic the Showtime series "Weeds," has been jailed since her arrest on May 20 after her marijuana operation was exposed by an informer, authorities said. She was linked to a Queens warehouse with 3,000 marijuana plants and off-the-charts Con Ed bills. She has daughters who are 13 and 3, and faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted in federal court in Brooklyn.

The signers on the bond included a Metropolitan Transportation Authority engineer from Orange County and an executive assistant at Thomson Reuters, who said they knew Sanderlin through the father of her 3-year-old daughter. The two hair workers said they knew her from social events.

Sanderlin's lawyer, Corey Winograd, said she has lost access to her Scarsdale rental house, and will be staying with her 3-year-old daughter's grandmother in a Manhattan apartment. She will be wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.Although prosecutors agreed to the package, Gold said he may revoke the bail if the grandmother and Sanderlin's own mother and stepfather -- who live in Virginia -- don't add their names to the bond by Wednesday.

But the four original signers told Gold they were confident they wouldn't be left holding the bag. "The one thing I do know is that she loves her children," colorist Mark Mileti told reporters as he left court.

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