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Real-Life 'Weeds'? Suburban Mom Is Accused Marijuana Kingpin

Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY
Wednesday, 5 Jun 2013 | 11:21 AM ET
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Andrea Sanderlin is not an actress, but her story—a horse-riding suburban mother of three accused of running a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring—sounds like it belongs on television.

Federal prosecutors have charged Sanderlin, 45, with conspiring to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants.

The charges were filed after federal agents followed Sanderlin, an equestrian who lives in the posh New York suburb of Scarsdale, to a Queens warehouse that housed thousands of marijuana plants. Investigators estimate the plants have a street value of at least $3 million.

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The massive warehouse drew suspicion because of its exorbitant monthly electric bills, including one as high as $9,000. Each bill was paid with cash.

Women Caught in the 'Weeds' in Westchester
Andrea Sanderlin of Scarsdale, NY, has been accused of running a massive pot operation, reports NBC's Andrea Day.

Sanderlin's case has drawn comparisons to the Showtime series "Weeds," in which actress Mary-Louise Parker played a suburban soccer mom who oversaw a major marijuana-growing operation.

But Sanderlin insists she is innocent and has never broken the law, according to her attorney. She was being held in a Brooklyn detention center while waiting for a hearing to set bail.

(Read More: Marijuana Law Enforcement Cost States an Estimated $3.6 Billion In 2010: ACLU)

Sanderlin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted of trafficking felony narcotics.

"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 percent of that term," former prosecutor Karen DeSoto told "Today" on Wednesday.

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