Mom pleads not guilty to pot growing charges
A suburban New York mom who is accused of running a massive marijuana operation from a warehouse in Queens was arraigned Friday and pleaded not guilty to charges of manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and maintaining a place for manufacturing a controlled substance.
Eariler this year, police followed Andrea Sanderlin, 45, to a warehouse in Queens that was registered in her name. They found two rooms packed with more than 1,000 marijuana plants and large amounts of dried marijuana, along with state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems to facilitate the hydroponic growing of the plants, according to court documents.
Sanderlin's next court appearance is scheduled for July 15. Her attorneys, Joel and Corey Winograd, requested she be released on bail and said they expect to see her out sometime next week.
"She's entitled to the presumption of innocence and of all other constitutional protections that should be afforded to her," Corey Winograd said. He said the mother of three is looking forward to getting back to her 3-year-old daughter and other children.
In a June statement, Brian Crowell, special agent in charge at the Drug Enforcement Administration, described the case against Sanderlin. "The warehouse was filled with over $3 million worth of hydroponic marijuana and the organization covertly produced 3,000 marijuana plants," he said. When agents raided Sanderlin's home on May 20, they found books on how to grow marijuana and how to launder money, according to the DEA.
Details of the case were first reported by The Smoking Gun website.
Originally from Virginia, Sanderlin was living in the upscale neighborhood of Scarsdale and driving regularly to Queens, according to court documents.
Authorities said a confidential witness tipped them off to Sanderlin's alleged crimes. The witness, who has been charged with participating in a conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, told investigators in April that a person named "Andi" operated at least one marijuana-growing house in Brooklyn or Queens, according to court documents.
The witness later identified Sanderlin as "Andi."
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