NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Mercedes-driving, horse-riding suburban mother has been arrested on charges of running a sophisticated marijuana business out of a New York City warehouse, U.S. authorities said.
Andrea Sanderlin, 45, of the tony bedroom community of Scarsdale, New York, was accused of conspiring to grow and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants from a warehouse in the borough of Queens, according to a criminal complaint released late on Tuesday.
Acting on a tip from an informant who identified Sanderlin as "Andi," U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents trailed the suspect for a week as she commuted from her suburban home to the warehouse in her Mercedes SUV, before arresting her on May 20, according to court papers filed in New York federal court.
The warehouse, operating under the business name "Fantastic Enterprises," had "state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems," the complaint said, adding that more than 1,000 plants and "large quantities" of dried marijuana were found.
Before the raid, power company Consolidated Edison told agents the warehouse had been consuming "an unusually high amount of electricity," according to the complaint, and always paid the bills, which ran about $9,000 a month, in cash.
Media reports have dubbed the case a real-life "Weeds," the cable television show starring Mary-Louise Parker as a drug-dealing soccer mom, and ran pictures of Sanderlin astride horses.
Sanderlin was being held without bail in a Brooklyn jail.
Her lawyer, Joel Winograd told local media that his client was a respected mother of two young children, was active in the equestrian community and had never run afoul of the law. He was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and; Scott Malone)