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Andrea Sanderlin Update: Confidential witness tipped off DEA to Scarsdale mom charged in marijuana-growing operation, complaint says

Marijuana found inside the warehouse in Queens, N.Y. where Andrea Sanderlin allegedly ran a marijuana-growing business
DEA

(CBS) NEW YORK - A confidential witness tipped law enforcement off to an individual named "Andi," now identified as Scarsdale, N.Y. mom Andrea Sanderlin, who operated a marijuana grow house in New York City, according to a federal complaint obtained by CBS News' Crimesider.

PICTURES: N.Y. mom accused of running massive pot operation

The complaint filed on May 20 says the unidentified witness, who has been charged with participating in a conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, spoke to authorities around April 2013. It is unclear whether or not the witness was involved in Sanderlin's alleged drug operation.

Upon further investigation into the witness's tip, law enforcement agents say they were led to Sanderlin, a 45-year-old woman who lived in a spacious home in Scarsdale, a highly sought-after New York City suburb, with her two daughters, ages 3 and 13.

The complaint, filed by DEA Special Agent David Lee, says Sanderlin was found to have two separate addresses in Scarsdale; three cars - a Mercedes SUV, a white Chevrolet van, and a black Jeep liberty - and an address in Manhattan.

On May 8, 2013, law enforcement agents say they contacted electric company Con Edison as part of their investigation and were ultimately made aware of an account under the name of "Fantastic Enterprises," located in the Maspeth section of Queens, N.Y., that was linked to Sanderlin's phone number and was using "an unusually high amount of electricity."

"Fantastic Enterprises" was registered as a New York State Corporation from 2007 to 2011, according to the complaint.

Between May 13 and May 20, investigators observed Sanderlin and/or vehicles registered to Sanderlin traveling from her residence in Scarscale to the address associated with "Fantastic Enterprises" in Queens, the complaint says. It was on May 20 that law enforcement agents approached Sanderlin and presented a warrant to enter the warehouse in Queens.

Investigators say they found a "sophisticated operation to grow and process marijuana" inside the building.

"Agents discovered two separate rooms constructed within the warehouse designed to grow marijuana. Each room contained state of the art lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems to facilitate growing the marijuana. Between the two rooms, law enforcement agents seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants and large quantities of dried marijuana," the complaint says.

Sanderlin, who is known to her neighbors as a skilled equestrian and a stereotypical soccer mom, now faces federal drug charges.

"When I first met her, she told me she was running a baby furniture operation," Anthony Flores, who identified himself as a friend of Sanderlin's for three years, told CBS New York. "[The arrest] blew my mind. Especially knowing her like interacting with her day to day. It's just nuts. I would think not her of all people."

The federal complaint states Sanderlin did conspire with others in the alleged drug operation. It is unclear how many others were involved and if anyone else was charged.

A call by Crimesider to Sanderlin's attorney, Joel Winograd, was not immediately returned.

Complete coverage of Andrea Sanderlin on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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