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Alleged Pot Mom Pleads Not Guilty

Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

The mom who authorities think has been running a pot ring appeared briefly in court this past Friday, USA Today reports. Lawyers for Andrea Sanderlin say a bail arrangement could have her out as early as the start of this week.

Sanderlin, 45, hails from the leafy suburbs of Scarsdale, N.Y.—but she’s accused of profiting from a different kind of greenery. The mom of two was arrested last month and indicted two weeks ago for allegedly running a $3 million marijuana-growing operation out of a Queens warehouse.

After her court appearance, one of Sanderlin’s lawyers, Corey Winograd, told the press his client is eager to get back to her two daughters, who are 3 and 13 years old. Referring to the similarity between Sanderlin’s troubles and Weeds, the Showtime drama, he insisted, "This is not life imitating art. This is real life.”

For her part, Sanderlin had less to say while she was in court. When U.S. Magistrate Steven Gold asked questions, she only uttered “yes, sir.” Among his inquiries: whether Sanderlin had signed a document that waived speedy-trial requirements while her lawyers and the prosecutors try to hammer out a plea deal.

Sanderlin hasn’t been home with her daughters since May 20, when agents with a task force of the Drug Enforcement Administration took her into custody. They’d spent more than a week tracking her before they accosted her as she arrived at a warehouse in Maspeth, N.Y. The warehouse, they found, had two rooms with sophisticated lighting, irrigation and ventilation systems, supporting more than 2,800 plants and some dried marijuana.

Outside Sanderlin’s home, other agents caught the family’s nanny trying to take a bag with $7,900 in it to Sanderlin’s boyfriend, who is also the father of her younger daughter. Inside the house, authorities found another $6,000 and books on money laundering and marijuana growing.

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