On Tuesday, February 24, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries owner Arthur Mondella committed suicide in his cherry factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn, moments after authorities moved a false wall to uncover a large stash of marijuana.
Beyond the false wall, authorities gained access to a secret entrance that led to “a huge marijuana-growing operation,” a source told the New York Daily News. The investigation, which had begun several hours before, also revealed a number of vintage vehicles, including a Rolls-Royce, a Porsche, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Authorities also found hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
The exterior of the building was covered in motion detector lights, cameras, and razor wire. The same factory is the source of the cherry syrup which, several years ago, caused local bees to turn red.
On Tuesday, when authorities first arrived at Mondella’s factory, the purpose of their investigation was to investigate claims that the company had been dumping toxic waste into the water supply.
Then, one of a team of 25 investigators noticed an unusual shelving area, near which lingered the smell of marijuana.
As investigators began working on obtaining another search warrant, Mondella excused himself to the restroom. Mondella told his sister, “Take care of my kids,” and then shot himself in the head.