Feds Bust Posh NY Mom Who Ran Huge Pot Business

By McCarton Ackerman 06/05/13

Scarsdale mom was behind a major grow operation in Queens.

Life imitates "Weeds" Photo via

In a scenario reminiscent of the hit show Weeds, New York native and divorced mother-of-two Andrea Sanderlin was arrested two weeks ago for running a“sophisticated operation to grow and process marijuana” out of a Queens warehouse. The Smoking Gun reports that federal investigators raided the warehouse last month, finding nearly 3000 pot plants, "large quantities of dried marijuana" and state-of-the-art cultivation equipment. Sanderlin, 45, had been allegedly running a multimillion-dollar marijuana business under the front name "Fantastic Enterprises, Inc." A US District court filing also claims that federal agents recovered $6,000 in cash and books on money laundering and growing marijuana when they raided her home in the ritzy Westchester town of Scarsdale, in addition to $7,900 in cash from Sanderlin's nanny, who was trying to funnel the cash to Sanderlin's boyfriend. The federal investigation against Sanderlin began last April, when five men were arrested for also operating marijuana businesses in NYC warehouses and one confessed that Sanderlin was conducting a similar business. Investigators later discovered that her electricity tab alone at the Queens warehouse averaged $9,000 a month, all of which was typically paid for in cash. It's unclear how long Sanderlin has been in the marijuana trade, but she was an active poster to the cannabis.com message board as far back as March 2008. The arrest came as a shock to those in her affluent community, who primarily knew her as a horse rider who had won several ribbons. Sanderlin's nanny said she was shocked by the arrest, although she confessed that she never knew exactly what her boss did for a living: “I just know that she told me she was going to work in the morning,” she said.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.