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Mother of two faces federal drug charges

Supporters of legalizing marijuana in Georgia and across the nation are watching as a 45-year-old mother was recently charged with growing thousands of marijuana plants in a New York warehouse. She allegedly commuted between her upscale residence and the warehouse as she led her double life as the mom of two girls, a teen and preschooler, and the head of the multimillion-dollar operation. She faces federal drug charges.

Law enforcement personnel found the plants along with dried pot in a highly advanced growing system that included strategic lighting, watering and air circulation. The plants were grown using hydroponics, a state-of-the-art system that uses minerals and water but no soil. The marijuana was valued at more than $3 million.

When the Drug Enforcement Agency searched the woman's home, they found materials on money laundering and on growing marijuana. A confidential witness allegedly told officers of the mother's illegal business. Authorities tracked her to the warehouse and then used that address to obtain the search warrant.

If convicted of narcotics trafficking, she could face up to 10 years in prison. She entered a not guilty plea and is in custody. The informant also faces charges. Her attorney described her as a mother who is committed to her children. She owned three vehicles, including a Mercedes, a Jeep and a Chevy van. She was taking horseback-riding lessons with her teen and bought a horse in January that she boarded. The owner of the stables thought she worked as an interior designer and said she seemed like a typical mother.

When someone faces serious federal drug charges, the courts are bound by mandatory sentencing laws. A criminal defense attorney might be able to negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors in order to mitigate the consequences that clients face.

Source: CNN Justice, "DEA: Suburban mom by day, pot grower by night", Brittany Brady, June 05, 2013

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