US maraschino cherry factory owner shoots himself dead after authorities uncover suspected marijuana operation

Arthur Mondella killed himself at his New York warehouse

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The Independent Online

The owner of a US maraschino cherry company killed himself after police raided his New York factory following suspicions that he was growing marijuana.

Arthur Mondella, who owned Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, shot himself at the Brooklyn warehouse on Tuesday, the New York Post reported

The 57-year-old was present as authorities searched the property. They reportedly came across "suspicious" shelving, before uncovering a door concealing a false wall, from behind which the smell of cannabis travelled. A source told the Post that upon their discovery Mondella asked to use the bathroom, where he subsequently shot himself in the head.

Officials had arrived at the factory at 175 Dikeman St in Red Hook, along with investigators from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and city Department of Environmental Protection, in order to find out whether Mondella had been dumping potentially hazardous waste.


But the Post claimed that the authorities had also received a tip-off that Mondella was running an undercover marijuana business.

Mondella was said to have been calm for the first few hours of the search, but things changed after it appeared evidence had been found.

The father is said to have told his sister: "Take care of my kids", before killing himself.

A law enforcement source said: "Poor guy, in this day and age, you can do no jail time."

A neighbour told CBS: "t’s said. It’s very sad. So I don’t know. My heart goes out to their family."

Police went on to find three large bags of weed hidden behind the false wall and also recovered hundreds of dollars. Mondella is suspected of using the factory to grow the drug.