- REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian
Andrea Sanderlin, the Scarsdale drug kingpin known as the "pot mom," pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in court Tuesday, admitting that she ran a Queens warehouse full of marijuana plants. When authorities raided the facility earlier this year, they found 2,800 plants worth about $3 million.
Andrea Sanderlin, 45, initially denied the charges against her, but changed her tune Tuesday in front of Brooklyn Judge Robert Levy.
"From 2009 to 2013 in Queens, New York, I operated a facility in which I, together with others, grew at least 1,000 marijuana plants and sold the marijuana product from the plants," she told the court.
Authorities had plenty of evidence linking her to the massive pot-growing operation. At her $10,000-a-month Scarsdale mansion, she had books on laundering money and growing marijuana, in addition to $6,000 in cash. When police showed up to raid the home, they even caught her nanny fleeing the scene with $7,900 in rubber bands inside a brown leather purse, according to The New York Post.
The Drug Enforcement Agency became suspicious of Sanderlin after her friend, Scarsdale resident Stephen Haberstroh, was busted in another marijuana operation in April, according to the Scarsdale Daily Voice. Suspects in the case mentioned an "Andi," so the DEA began investigating the mom.
Although the mother of three told neighbors she had become a successful interior designer and baby furniture saleswoman to maintain her comfortable lifestyle after the death of her husband, investigators found evidence of suspicious activity. Her name was linked to a Consolidated Edison account powering a warehouse in Maspeth, Queens- it was listed as front company called Fantastic Enterprises, which she used for laundering cash.
Authorities also tailed Sanderlin driving from her 5,538-square-foot home to the Queens warehouse and back, stopping her in her Mercedes-Benz on May 20. After raiding her home and the facility, they arrested the "pot mom" in June.
The twice-divorced mom was released from jail on a $500,000 bail Monday, but Brooklyn Magistrate Steven Gold said the motley crew of signers- an MTA train engineer, a secretary for Reuters media, and two upper East Side hair stylists- would not be sufficient to keep her out of jail.
"She doesn't know these people," Gold told The New York Daily News. "She has to have people (on the bond) who she cares about."
The signers admitted to not knowing Sanderlin that well, and Gold ordered her to get family or friends on the bond or risk jail time.
Sanderlin's exploits have been compared to Mary Louise Parker's in the show "Weeds." Similarly, Parker, a fictional California mom, attempted to support her family by growing and selling marijuana.
Sanderlin faces 10 years in prison, but could get less because of her guilty plea.