Scarsdale Woman Indicted for Manufacturing Marijuana
Queens warehouse yields seizure of over 2,800 marijuana plants, large quantities of dried marijuana, and state-of-the-art equipment.
JUNE 13 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) An indictment was filed this afternoon in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Andrea Sanderlin of Scarsdale, New York, with manufacturing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute it and maintaining a drug-involved premise. Sanderlin, 45, was arrested on May 20, 2013, when federal agents and detectives seized over 2,800 marijuana plants, large quantities of dried marijuana, and state-of-the-art marijuana growing equipment from a marijuana grow house in Maspeth, Queens.
The indictment was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; Raymond W. Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner; and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
As charged in the indictment, Sanderlin operated a warehouse in Maspeth, Queens, which contained a sophisticated operation to grow and process marijuana. The warehouse, which was located in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood, contained state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation, electrical, and ventilation systems to facilitate growing the marijuana. Initial estimates by the DEA indicate that the marijuana in the warehouse at the time of the search was worth in excess of $3 million. The warehouse used unusually high amounts of electricity, in some cases generating bills exceeding $9,000 a month. Law enforcement agents seized the equipment, approximately 2,800 marijuana plants, and large quantities of dried marijuana from the warehouse.
“Sanderlin could have focused her talents on building a legitimate business enterprise to support her family and serve as a role model for her children. Instead, she allegedly chose to inhabit the shadowy underworld of large-scale drug dealers, using drug proceeds to maintain her family’s façade of upper middle class stability. Sanderlin turned a commonplace warehouse in the heart of Queens into a sophisticated center for growing massive quantities of marijuana for distribution. We are committed to investigating and prosecuting organized drug activity in our communities, no matter who runs the organization or how well it is hidden. Those who use our neighborhoods to grow and introduce illegal drugs into the community will face the full force of the law,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the agents and detectives who investigated the case, and added that the government’s investigation is ongoing.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Crowell stated, “Hidden in a warehouse in Maspeth, Queens, this $3 million distribution operation was uncovered as part of a Strike Force investigation. Andrea Sanderlin is alleged to have overseen this operation which produced close to 3,000 marijuana plants to be distributed throughout the New York area. Marijuana is the most abused drug in the nation with 6.5% of high school seniors smoking marijuana on a daily basis. The high THC purity continues to derail more and more teens and young adults into substance abuse programs due to its ever increasing potency. I commend the joint Strike Force team for their steadfast work in identifying and removing this threat to our kids, our families, and our communities.”
“There’s really no difference whether you’re a suburban mom growing marijuana in a warehouse in Queens, or a cartel member making cocaine in the jungles of Colombia -- manufacturing and distributing illegal narcotics comes at a hefty price when you are caught by law enforcement,” said HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes. “While some may mistakenly perceive trafficking in narcotics as a path to a quick profit, this arrest demonstrates the serious consequences that await those who engage in the manufacture and sale of illegal drugs.”
The investigation was led by the DEA’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which includes agents and officers from the DEA, New York City Police Department, HSI, New York State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
If convicted, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to $10 million in fines.