Scarsdale mom pleads not guilty to growing marijuana

At left is the Scarsdale home of Andrea

At left is the Scarsdale home of Andrea Sanderlin, 45, who is accused of growing thousands of marijuana plants inside a Queens warehouse, right. (June 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Christian Wade and DEA

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The Scarsdale mom accused of running a high-tech marijuana growing operation at a warehouse in Queens pleaded not guilty Friday, and her lawyers said she hopes to have a bail package in place by mid-July.

Andrea Sanderlin, 45, a mother of three whose story of suburban drug-dealing seemed to mimic the popular Showtime series "Weeds," has been jailed since her arrest in late May. She was indicted on June 18, and Friday was her first public court appearance since her case made headlines.

"She's very sad because she's separated from her children," said her lawyer, Corey Winograd, outside federal court in Brooklyn. "When she gets out she'll be in a better frame of mind."

Sanderlin lived in a high-priced rental house abutting a golf course in Scarsdale and briefly owned a horse. After a tip from an informant, government agents learned she had multiple ConEd accounts, with one using a high volume of electricity at a Queens warehouse in a business named Fantastic Enterprises.

In a raid in May, agents found 3,000 marijuana plants and a "state of the art" lighting, irrigation and ventilation system. After Sanderlin's arrest, her nanny was intercepted leaving the Scarsdale house with a stash of cash.

Sanderlin, dressed in a blue prison smock during her brief court appearance, said nothing except to assure a magistrate that she read her indictment. Her lawyer entered the plea on her behalf.

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She faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted. Winograd said she planned to fight the case in court, but showed some annoyance that stories about the case have focused as much on the TV parallels as on his client's grim reality.

"This is not life imitating art," he said. "This is real life."

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