| Posted on Thu, February, 26th 2015 by THCFinder
Investigators in New York are looking for answers after a large marijuana-growing operation was discovered in a maraschino cherry factory in Brooklyn, leading its longtime owner to commit suicide while locked in a bathroom at the facility.
Arthur Mondella, 57, whose family had operated Dell's Maraschino Cherries since 1948, reportedly yelled "Take care of my kids!" to his sister after locking himself in a bathroom before taking his own life, reports the New York Daily News. He shot himself just as investigators discovered the pot-growing operation in the factory.
The incident has brought cherry production to a halt at the facility and investigators are now checking whether Mondella had connections to organized crime, according to the New York Post.
"That's why he shot himself. He knew the mob would kill him," a law enforcement source tells the Post. "Why else would you shoot yourself over 100 pounds of weed? It was the multimillion operation he lost."
According to the New York Times, Dell's was one of the largest producers of maraschino cherries in the country. It was housed in a brick building with no markings on the outside.
But the Times reports there were things that made the building unusual: Mondella had a fleet of vehicles in a garage, including a Porsche, Rolls-Royce, a Harley-Davidson and a Mercedes. There were security cameras on the building's corners and razor wire barricading the roof.
An investigator tells the Times it appears the cherry plant's employees were unaware of the marijuana-growing operations. Officials arrived at about 8 a.m. Tuesday to investigate alleged pollution in the waters near the cherry plant, the Daily News reports.
While there for about five hours, investigators found a faint smell of marijuana. A false wall hid the entrance to the area where the pot was grown, the Post reports.
The hidden area contained hundreds of marijuana plants and looked "extremely professional" and very expensive, a source tells the Post. About $200,000 in cash was found in a safe.
Pat Murano, 41, who has lived next door to the factory since 2005, tells the Times that it's difficult to keep a secret in the neighborhood where the factory was located ... "except this one."
He said he found the extensive security measures at the factory curious.
"I didn't think he was protecting the Dye No. 7 or his equipment," he said.