TODAY

TODAY   |  June 05, 2013

Scarsdale mom arrested for alleged marijuana farm

Andrea Sanderlin, 45, a mother and resident of affluent Scarsdale, N.Y., has been arrested because federal prosecutors say she’s the head of a massive marijuana ring running out of an industrial warehouse in Queens, N.Y. TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let's begin with a suburban mom from one of the country's most affluent communities accused now of running a giant marijuana farm. natalie has more on the story. this is going to get quite a reaction in that community and other communities.

>> the woman described as a polite suburban mom of three was living a double life as a drug dealer operating a multimillion-dollar illegal enterprise.

>> you're scary, you're this scary lady drug dealer with thugs.

>> that's me. go get the money.

>> reporter: think the show "weeds" about a soccer mom turned drug kingpin is far-fetched? think again. andrea sanderlin is a 45-year-old mother, equestrian and resident of the affluent westchester county of scarsdale, new york. federal prosecutors also say she's the head of a massive marijuana ring. criminal complaint filed in federal court charges that sanderlin, along with others, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants.

>> these charges are really serious. she's facing a schedule one federal felony, which is a minimum of ten years to life.

>> reporter: federal agents followed sanderlin multiple times to this warehouse in queens which allegedly housed thousands of marijuana plants with a street value of over $3 million. the massive warehouse which sanderlin confirmed to dea agents was hers drew suspension over its high electric bills as high as $9,000 a month, always paid in cash.

>> one of the main differences between state court and federal court is that when you get a federal court sentence you're required to do 80% of that term.

>> thug means never having to say your sorry.

>> reporter: an affluent suburban lifestyle that could go up in smoke. now sanderlin's lawyer says she is a full time mother who had never broken the law. sanderlin could face ten years if convicted of of felony narcotics trafficking.

>> we have a senior producer, let's call her debbie k., who lives in scarsdale and says the town is flabbergasted by this story.

>> i believe she said abuzz.

>> and wants us to know they hang out in different